Santa in the Bible?

drew-coffman-175709I found Santa Claus in the Bible!

Ok, this blog is a playful way of pointing out a sad reality. It is possible to lift Bible verses out of their intended context and use them to back up most any point you want to make. To demonstrate this, I found out how to make a “biblical” case for Santa! Ready for this? It starts in Zechariah 2 in the King James Version:

Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north…” (Zech. 2:6). Can’t you hear the “Ho, Ho, Ho” of Santa as he and his team of reindeer flee the land of the north every December 24?

But it doesn’t end there, check out this verse from Revelation in the English Standard Version:

“…and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents.” (Rev. 11:10)

There you have it — right from the Bible! Ho, Ho, Ho, be merry and exchange presents! It makes perfect sense — except that it doesn’t!

Obviously, neither of these passages has anything to do with Christmas, reindeer, or Jolly Old St. Nicholas. But this is the danger of lifting verses out of context. The interpretive key to understanding God’s Word is always to ask what the original author (and Author) intended for the original readers and how that message applies to us today.

For example, let me show a better Christmas passage of Scripture (Matthew 1:21-23) and notice the clarity of its message:

21 “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 

In this passage, Joseph is given instruction from an angel in a dream, and then Matthew identifies how this fulfills a prophecy from Isaiah. Jesus will be born, and his birth will fulfill what was promised of old. Many of Matthew’s readers were Jewish, so it was important for him to show that Jesus came in fulfillment of Old Testament promises.

Also, you notice there are two names given for the baby. He is “Jesus” (“Savior”) and “Immanuel” (“God with us”). These names reveal his identity and his purpose. This baby will be “God with us,” the fullness of deity in bodily form, the very presence of the very God. He will be the Word made flesh living among us. And his purpose is to save people from their sins. He is “Jesus,” the one who saves. This reveals his purpose — he came to save people from their sins, which would eventually be accomplished through a rugged cross and an empty tomb.

It is given with such clarity — Jesus would be born as fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. He will be God in the flesh, come to save people from their sins. When God came to be with us, he came to save. Just like he promised in the days of Isaiah.

Scripture is clear. We don’t need to lift things out of context to prove a point. We just need to worship God as he is revealed in his Word.


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