Archive for Saturday, December 19, 2009

Faith Forum: Does Santa Claus talk to God about who has been naughty or nice?

December 19, 2009


We should be thinking of the greatest gift of all

Doug Heacock, contemporary worship leader and director of media and communications, Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave.:

Based on what is known about Saint Nicholas of Myra (whom we know as Santa Claus), I suspect that he would have been concerned very little about naughtiness or niceness and far more occupied with giving gifts and meeting the needs of others. Nicholas was known for being a clandestine gift-giver. For example, legend has it that Nicholas learned of a man who had three daughters, but who could not afford the customary dowry required to marry them off. Without husbands or other means of income, they would likely have been forced into prostitution. Nicholas, it is said, visited the man’s home on three consecutive nights and tossed a bag of gold in the open window (or down the chimney, in another version) each night, once for each daughter’s dowry. On the third night, the father secretly waits to learn the identity of the person who has helped him, and when he discovers it is Nicholas and tries to thank him, Nicholas tells him to thank God alone.

One of the simple tenets of the Christian faith is that none of us is “nice” enough to earn God’s favor; this is why he dispatched his son from the comforts of heaven, to enter our world, to become one of us, to demonstrate the love and character of God, and ultimately, to satisfy once for all the requirement of death as the penalty for sin. This gift is at the heart of what we celebrate each Christmas.

As songwriter Randy Stonehill once put it: “... I know that if Saint Nicholas was here, he would agree that Jesus gave the greatest gift of all to you and me.”

I wish you a joyful Christmas.

— Send e-mail to Doug Heacock at

God’s role is not to mark ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’

The Rev. Jill Jarvis, Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, 1263 N. 1100 Road:

Certainly not! While Santa Claus does seem to have a penchant for rewarding the “nice” and punishing the “naughty,” God would never take part in a conversation aimed at separating her children into those who are worthy versus those who don’t measure up. Being fully in touch with the natural processes that create and form humanity, God understands — apparently better than Santa Claus — that each of us in our own way is sometimes nice and sometimes naughty. Given that we all share a common source and a common destiny, making divisive lists and checking them twice runs counter to God’s role as the spirit of life and love in the world. Surely she has more just and compassionate ways to spend her time, especially in this season as together we celebrate bringing light and hope into a broken world.

Despite Santa’s image as a happy, jolly fellow intent only on bringing cheer, it’s clear that the old guy has a serious judgmental streak. Compassion and justice are evidently not his strong suits (remember, despite his belated intervention on behalf of Rudolph, there were stories of ongoing workplace harassment at his North Pole workshop.) The image of the child deemed “naughty” awakening hopefully on Christmas morning only to find lumps of coal in his or her stocking is bad enough; worse is the fact that millions of children who most need his attention never get a visit from Santa. All God’s children deserve the blessings of a good life: peace, shelter, health care, freedom from hunger and bigotry, the love of family and friends. Santa Claus should be setting the example, but if he fails to deliver, it’s up to the rest of us to nurture this world that nurtures us, and to make this vision of hope a reality.

— Send e-mail to Jill Jarvis at


SantaClaus 8 years, 6 months ago

Well, my legal name is Santa Claus, and I've spent the last 5 years "re-branding" Santa the best I can.

I'm a Christian Monk, as St. Nicholas was many centuries ago, and believe that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, not the crass, commercial, secular spectacle it has become in many places, and that the greatest gift one can give is unconditional love, not presents.

I'm also a full-time volunteer advocate for the 2 million children in the U.S. annually who are abused, neglected, exploited, abandoned, homeless, and institutionalized through no fault of their own. That's 1 out of 37 children in our great nation.

I ask that you keep in your prayers these vulnerable children in dire straits -- many will not have adequate shelter or enough food to eat this winter. To learn more, please visit TheSantaClausFoundation dot org.

Christmas Blessings, Santa Claus

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 6 months ago

This is one truly stupid question. It is about on the kindergarden level if that. Why are there not any serious faith questions? Because the Prots are not serious about their faith?

Confrontation 8 years, 6 months ago

Same thing as asking if Santa talks to the Tooth Fairy.

Kathy Theis-Getto 8 years, 6 months ago

What's a Prot? Good grief.
A myth is a myth is a myth.

Paul Decelles 8 years, 6 months ago


Because if we had SERIOUS faith questions people's beliefs might get challenged and we can't have that now, can we?

anon1958 8 years, 6 months ago

Whoever manages this column is a total moron. The questions are usually inane or so soft as to be an insult to the intelligence of any non-fundamentalist Christian, Muslim or Jew.

Sadly, some of the local pastors that have been featured cannot even answer some of the easy questions without making themselves look foolish.

There are plenty of intelligent religious leaders in this community and an endless number of questions worthy of consideration by the faithful and faithless. I do not think the Journal World has anyone on their staff capable of making this column more than the piece of crap that it has been since its inception.

The forum should be renamed:

"Softball questions for the intellectually challenged".

Flap Doodle 8 years, 6 months ago

Santa just puts in a call to Krampus. He's the guy in charge of settling hash and fixing wagons.

denak 8 years, 6 months ago

"...Does Santa Claus talk to God about who has been naughty or nice?..."

No, 'cause God already knows:0)

BigPrune 8 years, 6 months ago

There's something about telling someone they've been naughty....

Paul R Getto 8 years, 6 months ago

One myth talking to another? Give me a break. At least there was an original Santa Claus of sorts. The skygod to whom he allegedly talks is pure invention. Nicholas of Myra, ironic in this age of sex trafficing, earned his stripes as the 'original Santa Claus' trying to save some young girls from a life of prostitution. Now we prostitute ourselves each year at the Winter Solstice in the name of ?????

phoggyjay 8 years, 6 months ago

Why would she (god) care about a make believe character, when she (god) knows everything already?

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 6 months ago

There is one God who created everything that is. I believe this with all my heart and soul and mind. I also believe that different people worship Him in different ways, and that is okay. We are all children of the one God, family whether we like it or not. Questions like this only serve to mock faith.

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