Santa Claus is an imposter. That is the awful truth which is blinding the eyes of many adults and spoiling the mis-guided beliefs of countless children each Christmas. It does not, however, come without signs and shadows of the real identity surrounding the focus of our festivities - Jesus Christ.
There is a special feeling attached to Christmas, and this is not due to a mortal man who is long gone, but rather the birth into the world of the architect and saviour of the world. As painfully inadequate an imposter as Santa Claus is, his mythical existence does provide some interesting parallels with the reality of Jesus Christ.
1. Santa Claus lives in the secluded snowy white area named Lapland, far away from everything, the dreams of little children who long to visit him at his residence. The Saviour resides in the mansions of his father, "on a globe like a sea of glass," which I guess would look a little like a snow-covered, glistening Lapland. That too, is far away from us, yet we know it exists and long to return there someday.
2. Santa is the giver of gifts. Apparently, "he's making a list, he's checking it twice, he's gonna find out who's naughty or nice." Much of the gospel of Christ is associated with the giving of gifts. Indeed, it's extremely important to Christ to know "who's naughty or nice," for we know that "any blessing from God [is obtained] by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." The greatest of Jesus' gifts is his atonement.
3. Santa Claus seems to have an infinite number of presents to cover everyone in the world. Similarly, the gifts of repentance and forgiveness are available to all of God's children. Christ's atonement is retrospective in the giving of his love to those who preceded it, those who lived during the time, and those of us who live after the event.
4. Santa Claus delivers his gifts secretly at night while everyone is sleeping so that he can't be seen. The deliverance of the gift of Christ to earth was similarly done during the night where an extremely limited number of people witnessed the event. It is significant to note that on the night of the Saviour's suffering in The Garden of Gethsemane, even his closest associates, the three chief disciples, fell asleep whilst Christ strained under the burden of supplying the greatest gift the world has ever received. Not even they could keep their eyes open to behold the conveyance of this heavenly gift.
5. Santa Claus's work is long and arduous so he has elves to assist him in preparing gifts, who also come to parts of the earth to inform people of Santa's coming. We can quite easily see the symbolism in this one. Christ has legions of angels who at times throughout history have visited the earth to announce his imminent birth and also to proclaim his Second Coming.
6. Children write letters to Santa requesting specific gifts they would love to receive. Comparably, we are each invited to pray to the Father in the name of Christ, to give thanks and to beseech him for certain blessings or gifts we would like to attain. Whilst Santa replies with material gifts, the Saviour almost always replies with spiritual help which increases our faith in him.
So, whilst whipping one another into a Santa frenzy this Christmas, let's observe the symbols and shadows of Christ which are weaved into the 'life' and 'works' of Santa Claus. The life and works of Christ and the gift of his atonement are gloriously portrayed each year, if we open our eyes to see them.