24 December 2008

Important Question: Jesus Claus?

The latest Important Question is a straightforward but timely one, though not nearly as important as the last one.

For those readers who are religious*, I respectfully ask the following:

Do you find that as your kids mature, the inevitable revelations about Santa Claus undermine or strengthen your teachings about God/Allah/Yahweh, even if you didn't take much of a part in this particular cultural/quasi-religious tradition?

This occurs to me every year, but I've never been in a situation where I could ask it with any hope of getting a thoughtful answer. I've just never imagined a way to teach a child about God and Santa/the Easter Bunny without setting up a significant crisis around age 8-10 or even earlier.


In case the above question is too deep for you, answer this question instead: Who would win in a fight, Jesus or Santa Claus? (And I don't mean a wimpy South-Park-style fight, I mean a genuine, few-holds-barred brawl.)

Ground rules: No reindeer, no hitting below the belt, and no resurrections.

Keep in mind that while Jesus of course has some notable powers and one heck of a tag-team partner, Santa clearly has supersonic speed, incredible stamina, and the ability to change his shape and size at will.

The comment board is now open-- discuss either question, or both, at will!



* I myself come from Catholic stock, mostly Irish immigrants, but I've only ever attended church for weddings, christenings, and the occasional funeral/communion/confirmation.

17 comments:

Brittany said...

Ok, part one of the post...the Santa Jesus assimilation. I spent all my formative years in Catholic school, so I remember the satisfiying of religious superheros with pop culture phenomenon. Come Christmas time, of course it was all Baby Jesus, Baby Jesus, but since they couldn't ignore the obvious influence of Santa Claus, we were rather taught about him in the form of Saint Nicholaus, his history, how it relates to me getting Barbi dolls under the tree.

Secondly, who would win? Tough call. I am going to go with Jesus. He is younger, probably good at illusions like Chris Angel, and is known to have a high tolerance for pain.

Aliceson said...

So funny you would ask. My mom and her sister (as children) would go round and round at Christmas time about who was stronger, better, etc. My Aunt is christian and always said Jesus, but mom the Unitarian always maintained that Santa was superior. That said, Santa would totally win. Just because he's fat doesn't mean that he can't hold his own against a skinny guy wearing sandals.

Happy holidays!

Middle Aged Woman said...

Oh dear, not gonna weigh in on the smackdown question, but I do want to let you know that the crisis is pretty minor at 8-10 (or 10-12 for my kids) for two reasons. One, they want to appear 'hip' to their friends, and two, they want to continue getting lots of swag under the tree.

Candy Cook said...

The origin of "Santa Claus," is a Christian Saint Nicholas. So, it should actually be *easy* to incorporate Santa into a discussion about Jesus/God. Nicholas was obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor." The real St. Nicholas was imprisoned for being Christian. He became so well loved and well known because of his great generosity in the name of the Lord. He lives on in the legend of Santa Claus. Our present day version was developed in the 1800s in the story "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

Christy said...

Well, OF COURSE Santa would win because Jesus would refuse to fight, right? Imean, he's supposed to be a pacifist and all peaceful, you know. Jesus would just stand there, and Santa would come & twist Jesus' arm around his back and sit on him, and it would be all over...

At our house, we're not really Christians (in the true sense) and we celebrate Christmas more out of tradition and wanting to share with each other and others. We actually debated for a while before we had kids about telling them about Santa, but alas, we caved. But I guess for us, Christmas isn't really about Jesus supposedly being born, it's more about helping and being thoughtful of others, sharing, and family. Which I think is great to try to carry on throughout the year as well.

Merry Christmas Literaldan & family!

Summer said...

Christy has a valid point in the whole pacifist thing...BUT, if the smackdown WERE to take place, Jesus would totally kick ass. The guy was a carpenter and, therefore, probably ripped. Plus I totally second Brittany's high pain tolerance note. Santa's fat ass is full of cookies and milk and brandy, getting wheeled around in a glorified scooter of a sleigh...I'm just sayin...

Ali said...

Remember when Jesus caught his apostles sleeping when he specifically asked them not to? He was SEETHING! And he was a carpenter--that took some muscles back in the day of no Home Depot. Jesus walked everywhere while Santa rides in a sleigh. Santa is a hefty dude but he's too jolly. There wouldn't be any anger to power a punch. I'm going with Jesus.

nonna said...

i can't decide which is funnier, your questions or the responses your getting to them this go round.

i think i would have to agree with the jesus being ripped, high pain tolerance, and also if he can perform miracles to cure you, it makes sense he could afflict you too. (gotta know how to do something b4 you know how to undo it)

Always Home and Uncool said...

Jesus in Round 8 by TKO. Though Amy Winehouse might be able to take them both on any given night.

Threeboys1mommy said...

Uhm... what the Foodie said, verbatim... actually no... I'm going with Santa for #2, but only because he hasn't been to my neck of the woods yet and I'm sure this will convince him to SWITCH MY LUMP OF COAL FOR AN iTOUCH!

you're on his reader right Dan?

Kori said...

We are believers but I also totally lie to the kids about Santa. It works, has never been a theological problem in our house.

Swirl Girl said...

I guess I'll be the Jew to weigh in here-as far as bursting the Santa bubble goes, that happens just about the same time the kid wakes to find daddy slipping some dough under the pillow when it should be a fairy!

Santa would totally get creamed in this fight. Jesus walks on water, fed the world with one fish, and came back from the great beyond even after getting nailed to a cross! Santa needs his reindeer to get around, and his elves to make the toys.

Middle Aged Woman said...

Merry Christmas Dan, J-, M- and D-!

The Microblogologist said...

I am still on the fence as to if I plan to tell any potential offspring about santa, think it would depend on if the mate and his family were into it or not. My family is against Santa and basically tell my niece (5) he does not exist. Her sperm donor's family is totally into the tradition and tell her he does. She believes them and not my family (I play along with her belief), they have someone dress up as santa and give the kids lots of toys so she definitely believes.

Unfortunately my Dad is trying to teach her about God and such and last night she told me that Santa made the world, thankfully I don't think Daddy heard! We aren't catholic so the St. Nick thing isn't too applicable but perhaps I can try it, gotta get something in there that allows for both before Dad finds out the santa thing is confusing her and he completely trashes the traditions of the donor's family (who basically only ask to see her once a year, might need to work on that). This is what we get when christianity converts pagan holidays into christian ones!

Ah, looks like Baby Sibling has unburied my sleigh, time to load up and drive 6 hours! Merry Christmas to you and the family.

Mrs. B. Roth said...

I kind of hate Santa (he didn't bring me anything this year ... again). I've pretty much told my kids all along that I don't believe in Santa and, for fun, I ask them to explain the details of how could Santa even do all that and don't you think, occum's razor-wise, it makes more sense that parents do it all? My husband goes to the other extreme and writes a Santa letter himself, keeps things secret, and everything. Then my husband and I stay up late, perpetuate the lie to the best of our abilities, husband even forges a nice letter and VAVOOM, SEE MOMMY, there IS a Santa.

We'll see what faith issues my kids develop due to my unwillingness to just play along.

I vote, clearly, for Jesus.

Vodka Mom said...

well, crap. That's like asking who is your favorite kid! Not fair.


merry, merry Christmas!

Father Muskrat said...

Jesus would win, as he's fitter. Santa is too fat and would get winded. Plus, he's nothing without those flying deer.