There’s this growing idea that religion is the thing that makes the world an awful place, that somehow if people lived without religion, we would all get along better and be happier. It has been tried throughout history, but it doesn’t help. At this time of year, we even put that effort in the form of a person called Santa Claus. This is what John Piper says about that and how the effort fails to help us:
If there is going to be any salvation at all, there must be a divine revelation. God must reveal these things to us or we perish. We can’t find them out from television or radio or medicine or psychology or art. We learn the truth about ourselves from the Word of God. And once our eyes are opened to the truth that God reveals, then we can see confirmations of it in virtually all the sciences and arts.
Santa Claus and Religion
But if we don’t start with God’s interpretation of who we are, we will be like blind people who go on developing elaborate theories to prove that there really is no such thing as vision, and that color and light and perspective are the inventions pious imaginations projecting onto reality their own dissatisfaction with the dark. “Religion is the opiate of the people.”
That statement is not simply classic Marxism. It is classic American materialism. The difference is that American materialism doesn’t outlaw religion; it imitates it and then uses it. That is the real meaning of Santa Claus.
The true meaning of Christmas—that God sent his Son into the world to save us from our evil hearts of sin (Matthew 1:21), and to destroy the works of the devil in our habits and homes and schools and workplaces (1 John 3:8), and to rescue us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10)—that meaning of Christmas is unacceptable to the spirit of this world. But the impact of the truth of the incarnation is so undeniable after 2,000 years of influence, that the god of this world behind American materialism cannot oppose it outright, but simply imitates it with Santa Claus and a hundred other trappings in order to direct the religious impulses of the masses into economically profitable channels.
Does that mean you sit Christmas out completely? Listen to Piper explain how Christmas Day looked at their house when their kids were growing up: