But first I would like to make some observations. The secularization of Christmas is nothing new. It became so bad in the 17th century that in many places public celebration of Christmas was illegal. Drunken debauchery and promiscuity associated with Christmas celebration was a major problem. Laws were passed at those times in an attempt to protect Christmas from losing its true meaning. As is always the case “The Law” is powerless to change morality and these laws also failed.
What strikes me is that these ideas though not enforceable are still noble ideals. The commercialism of Christmas does almost completely rob us of the Joy of Christmas. Our commercial hype often creates an artificial Christmas. Santa Clause should be seen as a symbol of Christ and the gifts symbols of his forgiveness and providence, but often we fail to make the connection. The crescendo of anticipation leading to the coming of Santa Clause is lost when we become adults and the blessings from Christ seem to pale in comparison.
The true Joy of Christmas thus comes from our meditation on what he has and is doing for us. That is the reason for separating Advent and Christmas. Seeing the not yet of Advent (the future coming of Christ to fulfill our Salvation) helps us appreciate the Joy that Christ has already kept his promise to redeemed us and is always faithful and will complete this good work he has begun in us.
So, we can follow the secular crowd and focus on Santa or we can see Santa as a symbol of God’s grace giving love not for the material blessing of toys etc. but the forgiveness of sins, his daily care for our lives, and his future coming to complete our salvation.
So take some time during these days of Christmas to focus on the peace and hope he gives.