Santa was shot in Amarillo

I view this clip with somewhat mixed thoughts. While I can both understand and don’t disagree with certain tenets claimed by Repent Amarillo, I’m somewhat taken back by the extreme nature of the violent demonstration. Personally, I think if you’re going to tackle the present day fascination with Santa Clause, it’s necessary to view the historical development of the Santa character. Where did the legend of a jolly old man in red originate? Remember that many cultural expressions develop out of previously significant and meaningful event or cause. Let’s not lose the opportunity to learn.

Most believe the modern day Santa can be traced back to a monk named Nicholas. You’ve probably heard of St. Nicholas before? This monk was known for his sacrificial charity and benevolence. Legend reveals his great work for the underdog – the children and the poor. Over the more recent generations (last couple of 100 years), the character morphed into a gift-giving giant complete with reindeer and sled. While the current day Santa is dissimilar to the legendary St. Nicholas, to completely dispose of Santa is to miss the opportunity to teach about charity, benevolence, and giving. Of which, these are in short supply. You can use the story of St. Nicholas as a wonderful object lesson in giving. I really don’t think you need to throw the baby out with the bathwater on this one. To do so is to miss an incredible teaching moment.

Here’s the catch, never should any legend of the season take precedence over the story of the first coming of Christ. For Christians, this is the main event. The coming of the Christ Child is the headliner – God’s Gift to Us. Perhaps it might be a sincere project for those of us who have received this gift to demonstrate our thankfulness through acts of charity, benevolence, and kindness to others less fortunate and in need. Of course, let’s not make these actions an annual event, but an every day lifestyle. But then we need to remember, Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25 either, but that’s a story for another post!