Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), James Rafferty
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000259
00:29 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn and welcome again to
00:32 Issues and Answers. Today we're going to be talking
00:35 about Christmas and Santa Claus from a biblical perspective.
00:39 Some of you may want to send your small children out of the
00:42 room. Now we want to give a very balanced approach to this and I
00:47 will say that many Christian scholars believe that Jesus was
00:51 born in October, some say in April, but we do know that
00:56 December 25 wasn't actually his birth date. Today we will be
01:01 looking at some things that have to do with the story of Santa
01:06 Claus. Now welcome back James Rafferty. I'm so excited that
01:10 you've returned with us. You are the speaker and co-director
01:14 for Light Bearers Ministry. Tell us about this ministry.
01:17 Good to be here Shelley always. We have a ministry that focuses
01:21 on publishing, printing literature for the world field.
01:24 We've been working through this ministry for about 22 years.
01:28 We've traveled the world to various continents and countries
01:31 teaching the word of God and providing literature in the
01:35 language of the people. A lot of it is focused on prophecy,
01:38 Daniel and Revelation, the gospel, focusing on Christ in
01:42 those prophecies. We've been privileged to print about 500
01:45 million pieces of literature in the last 15-20 years in over 30
01:49 different languages. I get to travel all over the world and
01:52 share the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ with lay people,
01:56 with pastors, with people who are not believers, some who are
01:59 believers and it's just been a privilege to do this for the
02:02 last 22 years. Well you know, James, you and
02:05 Ty Gibson, who is your partner and co-director of Light Bearers
02:10 Ministry, have a very popular program on 3ABN called Lift Him
02:15 Up. You know most people talk about you as the experts in
02:19 Daniel and Revelation because you all focus a lot on that and
02:22 we've certainly seen in the few programs that we've just done
02:26 here on Issues and Answers some of the amazing insights the Lord
02:30 has given you and your mastery of Revelation and Daniel.
02:33 But I always enjoy listening to the two of you. As a matter of
02:37 fact, I take a lot of notes when you all talk and I really want
02:41 to thank you for the programs that we've recently done where
02:44 we've been covering the apocalypse and how that word
02:48 that some seem to think is doom and gloom the Bible talks about
02:52 about it as being the unveiling and the revelation of.
02:56 We've been looking at apocalyptic literature in Daniel
02:59 and in Revelation and it brought up this issue because we're
03:04 talking about how Satan tries to counterfeit so many things.
03:08 So during one of our breaks you had mentioned a couple of
03:12 programs ago about a teaching a question that came up when
03:16 you were doing a campmeeting in Botswana. Someone came and
03:20 asked you about Christmas. Now they had a very negative spin on
03:26 Christmas. You were trying to give them a balanced stand.
03:28 Absolutely. We were there, we were doing a youth congress in
03:31 Botswana, about 800 kids there, and the question that was
03:34 brought up was well what about Christmas. Now the reason it was
03:37 brought up was because I was there through Christmas. It was
03:41 the dates of December 21st to December 31st. So we went right
03:45 over the Christmas holidays at this meeting, at this congress,
03:49 and the reason we did that was because a lot of the kids don't
03:51 have school during that time and they wanted to do this. It was
03:54 really neat, I thought. But some of the young people there in
03:58 Botswana... Christmas is not a big deal over there. You know,
04:01 they don't have trees and decorations and a lot of it is
04:03 negative. It's more just drinking and celebrating.
04:05 It's not really Christ focused at all. Here in this country, in
04:10 America, we use Christmas to remember Christ's birth. I think
04:13 that's a very positive thing. We need to do that. I think that
04:17 it's important to recognize and take the opportunity to reach
04:21 out to people and touch people's lives during this time of the
04:25 year whether it is or is not historically connected with the
04:28 date of his birth. However, I also believe there is a lot of
04:32 secularism, a lot of counterfeit that comes in with Christmas.
04:35 Part of that, I believe, has to do with undermining the faith of
04:39 people in Jesus Christ by counterfeiting Christ in such a
04:44 way that from early childhood young people would lose their
04:49 faith in their parents and therefore in their heavenly
04:51 Father through being told a lie that causes them to mistrust
04:58 adults, mistrust anything they would tell them.
05:00 Whoa ho! Have I got a story to tell you! I remember when J.D.
05:04 and I got married. I told him if we have children or when we have
05:08 children, I don't want to teach them about Santa Claus. He was
05:13 appalled at the idea at first and I explained why. I remember
05:17 when my sister was 6 or 7 years old and she had put a little
05:22 step ladder on to of a chair and she got up to the top of the
05:26 closet and found the Christmas presents that she had asked
05:30 Santa Claus for. She came to my mother and she said just in a
05:35 hysterical fit, she said you lied to me, you lied to me.
05:39 You're Santa Claus. There is no Santa Claus. And when my mother
05:44 explained it to her she was so devastated. Now you might say
05:48 well everyone gets upset when they learn about Santa Claus.
05:52 But I watched my sister as a teen when she went into
05:56 a rebellious age and she looked my mother in the face and she
06:01 said why should I believe you about Jesus, about God, when
06:06 you lied to me about Santa Claus.
06:08 This is the very reason, Shelley why we're doing this program.
06:11 I believe that Satan is trying to undermine the faith of
06:15 people in childhood concerning Christ by teaching something
06:22 that will cause them to doubt and be less likely to receive
06:27 the truth about Jesus later on in life. He's doing that through
06:32 this idea or this teaching about Santa Claus and I think we
06:37 really need to take a close look at that today.
06:39 Oh, I'd love to. Matthew 18 says unless you become like a little
06:43 child who is so trusting and receiving you cannot enter the
06:47 kingdom of God. So how has Satan tried to destroy or counterfeit?
06:54 Let's look at first how did he try to destroy Jesus?
06:58 Well we know he began, and everyone knows this that knows
07:01 anything about the Bible; he began by trying to destroy
07:04 Christ through Herod. Herod was the king in Jerusalem at that
07:07 time. Basically he was the king of the Jews but he was set up
07:11 by pagan Rome. He was a puppet leader there. He was very
07:15 jealous for his status there. He wasn't sure. He didn't want any
07:18 rival kings. He heard about this king being born, this king of
07:21 the Jews, the true heir to the throne and he was afraid it was
07:23 going to be some kind of temporal kingdom that was going
07:27 to replace him. So when the three magi who came through and
07:31 told him about this Messiah being born didn't return he sent
07:34 his army out to Bethlehem where he had heard that the child was
07:38 going to be born to destroy all of the children there that were
07:41 two years old and younger.
07:42 You know, this is something that's very interesting is that
07:48 when the Magi came he had his people, his scribes if you will,
07:53 study this out and they knew that it was the time, the
07:56 fulfillment of this 70 week prophecy. It was getting close
08:00 so they knew yes the Messiah is supposed to come right now.
08:03 So he figured this is the new and rightful king so he tried to
08:07 destroy him. Absolutely! And he did more than
08:08 that. Before Christ was even born he tried to destroy the
08:11 Jewish nation. He did? Satan? Yes. The prophecy as we read
08:16 it there in Daniel 9 predicted that Christ would come forth in
08:20 the allotted time given to the Jews. So if he could destroy
08:24 that nation, if he could take that nation off the face of the
08:27 earth, then where would the Messiah be born? He also tried
08:31 to destroy Christ in the relationship between Joseph and
08:35 Mary. When Mary became pregnant of the Holy Spirit, Joseph was
08:39 in doubt of her purity and was going to put her away until an
08:42 angel came to him and told him no Joseph don't do that.
08:44 Again, just before Christ was born there was no place for him
08:48 to be born. They had to go to a stable. Satan did everything he
08:52 could to make it hard, difficult or impossible for the Messiah
08:56 to be brought forth to destroy our Savior Jesus Christ. And he
09:00 has carried on or is carrying on that work in seeking to destroy
09:04 the faith of God's people in him, the faith of anyone in him,
09:08 by attacking children first and foremost. Why? Because Matthew
09:12 18 tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like a little child
09:16 children who are so susceptible so willing to believe what they
09:21 are told and so open-minded about what they are told. If he
09:25 can set up a counterfeit system and bring into their belief
09:30 system something that later one decimates that belief system
09:35 causes them to have doubts and unbelief about it, then he can
09:39 conquer and cause that same unbelief to be pointed toward or
09:44 directed toward the Bible and the gospel of salvation.
09:47 You know, I was just thinking. In Revelation 22, going back to
09:52 me saying that I wouldn't want my children to grow up believing
09:57 in Santa Claus, it seems so innocuous and so much fun.
10:00 I just confess to you that had before a whole little collection
10:07 of the Santa Claus, St. Nick, statues and different things
10:11 that people had given to me over the years because I love to
10:15 decorate at Christmas. But there is this scripture in
10:18 Revelation 22 that talks about the ones who are going to be
10:23 outside the gate and it talks about anyone who loves and deals
10:27 in falsehood, who is perpetuating a lie. So this is
10:31 something that we want to talk about very delicately and
10:35 sensitively today but we do want to show that if we are
10:40 perpetuating a lie, a counterfeit of Satan, we could
10:44 be doing damage to our children.
10:46 And as you expressed with the experience of your sister, we
10:49 are doing damage to our children and that damage is reaching over
10:54 to belief in Jesus Christ. Now I still remember the day that I
10:58 found out there was no Santa Claus and I was devastated.
11:01 Where was the focus of my devastation? Where was my anger,
11:05 what was my anger directed toward? My mother, my mother.
11:08 I had seen her as someone that I could trust, someone that I
11:11 could believe in. Now she raised me to believe in God. She raised
11:14 me to go to church and now my faith in her, my trust in her
11:18 was undermined just a little bit. I believe that all over
11:21 this planet in the lives and hearts of millions of children
11:25 who are very open to believe and accept the gospel of Jesus
11:30 Christ, you have Satan seeking to undermine the principles of
11:34 the kingdom of God, the receptiveness, the openness that
11:38 we are to have toward the kingdom of God by replacing
11:42 the principles of God's kingdom with this counterfeit system
11:45 that eventually, one way or another, these children are
11:48 going to find is not true; it's a lie, it's a falsehood.
11:51 And it's amazing how much Santa Claus and this fable really do
11:57 parallel with the characteristics of Christ.
12:00 One thing that troubled me so much is that we're taught that
12:04 Santa Claus knows who's naughty or nice, he's keeping this
12:08 record, right? You know, what's really
12:11 interesting when you look at a lot of these principles of Santa
12:14 Claus you find them in the book of Revelation. Oh yes.
12:18 Revelation is full of them. Revelation 2:2 for example:
12:22 Jesus here is talking to the church in Ephesus and he says
12:26 in verse 2: I know they works and they labor and thy patience
12:29 and how you cannot bear those which are evil and you've tried
12:32 them which say they are apostles and are not and have found them
12:35 liars. Jesus knows everything about us. He knows who's been
12:39 naughty or nice. See? So the counterfeit comes in. What's the
12:45 counterfeit? Santa. By the way. Take the word Santa, S-A-N-T-A;
12:50 take the N out and put it at the end S-A-T-A-N.
12:54 That's interesting. It is. And what you find here with Santa
12:58 is you find one counterfeit after another. This first one
13:02 that you mentioned, knowing who's naughty and nice. So you
13:05 have this make believe person who knows who's naughty and nice
13:08 and we teach our kids to believe in this person, to believe he's
13:12 the one that's going to do what? Bring them rewards, bring them
13:16 presents. Well let's look at that one. Doesn't the book of
13:20 Revelation tell us that there's someone who's going to bring
13:22 rewards and gifts. He's going to bring his reward with him. Okay
13:26 Revelation 22. Again, I believe that a lot of these counterfeits
13:31 are found in the book of Revelation. Revelation 22:12:
13:35 And behold I come quickly and my reward is with me to give
13:40 every man according as his work shall be. So here are two
13:44 principles that are being counterfeited by this fabricated
13:49 person, Satan? Santa and he knows who's naughty and nice,
13:53 and he's going to bring rewards with him. Why is he going to
13:56 bring rewards with him? Because we've written our list, we've
14:00 checked it twice. We've brought our requests to Santa. Now is
14:03 that another counterfeit of Jesus Christ. Yes, absolutely.
14:07 Okay. In Matthew 7:7 we are told there: Ask and it shall be given
14:11 you, seek and ye shall find, knock and you will have the door
14:16 opened unto you. So we have the gifts that we're supposed to ask
14:21 Jesus for in Matthew 7:7. We have the fact that he knows
14:25 who's naughty and nice, Revelation 2:2, we have the
14:29 fact that he's going to bring rewards with him Revelation
14:32 22 verse 12. What else do we have counterfeited?
14:35 Well he comes late, I mean his coming is late, it's at midnight
14:39 It's like the midnight cry.
14:40 Yes. We find that in the Bible in relation to Christ.
14:43 He's going to come at midnight. He's going to come as a thief
14:45 in the night. He's going to come when we don't know, he's going
14:48 to come when we're asleep and we're not supposed to be asleep
14:51 and the same with Santa. You know, you leave him the cookies
14:54 and milk and he comes down the chimney late at night when
14:58 everyone's sleeping. See. Same counterfeit there. Another
15:02 counterfeit; what does Santa wear? Red and White. He wears
15:05 red and white. What about Christ? Revelation chapter 19
15:08 describes Christ as he returns to the earth the second time.
15:12 In Revelation chapter 19 and look at verses 13 and 14.
15:16 It says here: And he was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood and
15:21 his name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were
15:25 in heaven followed upon white horses clothed in fine linen
15:29 white and clean. Christ comes with these armies of heaven
15:32 clothed in white, his vesture is dipped in blood which represents
15:36 of course his sacrifice for us. Satan also counterfeiting Christ
15:40 Santa, counterfeit, has the red and the white. What about the
15:44 appearance? Well Santa Claus has got white
15:48 hair and white beard, down to his shoulders kind of curly,
15:51 the white beard. Look in Revelation chapter 1.
15:55 Revelation chapter 1 is one of the only places you find a post
16:00 resurrection description of Christ. It is symbolic to some
16:05 degree, but it's also, I think, more of a picture of him as a
16:10 glorified being whereas on this earth he was looking more like
16:15 a man. Now Revelation 1:14, by the way context, Son of Man:
16:20 verse 13: His head and his hair were white like wool, as white
16:25 as snow. So there you have that counterfeit of Christ again by
16:30 Satan. He knows who's naughty and nice, he comes as a thief,
16:33 he's bringing his rewards with him, he wears red and white,
16:38 he's got long white hair. We bring our children to him.
16:41 Oooh! Like in Mark 10 where Jesus said suffer the little
16:45 children to come to me. So people were bringing the
16:49 children to Jesus and his disciples tried to interrupt
16:53 that and he said no bring them to me. So in our society we take
16:57 our children to Santa Claus to stand in line and to sit one his
17:00 lap and to tell him what I want.
17:03 What's so powerful about this, Shelley, what's so important
17:05 is that many times we see Santa Claus as more receptive to us or
17:10 to our children then Jesus is. We are putting someone in his
17:15 place because maybe Jesus isn't as approachable. The disciples
17:20 of Christ are alive and well today in spirit. The ones that
17:24 are telling people that Christ doesn't have time for you, that
17:27 he doesn't want to listen to you, that he's got more
17:29 important things to do, that maybe you can go to Santa and
17:32 he'll help you but not Jesus. We need to recognize that
17:36 Jesus wants us to come to him. He was very displeased with the
17:40 disciples when they tried to usher the children and the
17:43 mothers away from him. We don't need someone else between us and
17:47 God. We have one mediator and that mediator is Jesus Christ.
17:51 Amen. Those little children that they're bringing have to ask
17:55 Santa for gifts. James 1:17 says that God is the giver of every
17:59 good and perfect gift. So this is something that Jesus is
18:04 saying come to me, ask, seek, knock and it will be given to
18:09 you. So there's another parallel.
18:12 Another parallel. And here are a couple more. We know that
18:15 Santa is all about good cheer. Christmas time is all about good
18:20 cheer. Well Jesus is the one who has promised us good cheer.
18:23 He is the source of good cheer. He is the source of everything
18:26 that is good. Also we know Santa has his helpers and we've been
18:31 told in Hebrews that Jesus is the one from whom we get help.
18:35 He is the one that can give us the help that we really need.
18:38 Finally we know that Santa flies through the air. Acts chapter 1
18:42 Jesus, of course, was lifted up from his disciples when he left
18:46 in the air and he will return in the air. You know when you look
18:50 at the whole picture, it's amazing. You've got at least 10
18:54 or so points of counterfeit here. North Pole for example;
18:57 Santa lives in the North Pole. The Bible teaches us that Jesus
19:00 is the real king of the north and it's Satan, Isaiah 14:12,
19:04 has wanted to sit in Christ's place in the sides of the north.
19:08 So Satan sets up this counterfeit, he gets us all
19:11 focused on that. Those of us who believe in that and then realize
19:16 it's not true have our faith undermined to believe in our
19:19 parents and whatever else they tell us, possibly about Christ.
19:22 Those of us who do believe and continue to believe continue to
19:25 believe lies and fables rather that going directly to Christ.
19:28 You know I told you the story about my sister and you said
19:31 that you could remember exactly when you learned about Santa.
19:36 I can't because I remember for a couple of years as a child till
19:40 she learned, I was four years older, until she learned the
19:44 truth I would pretend that I believed in Santa Claus because
19:48 I was afraid I wouldn't get any gifts. But it was just as much
19:51 fun knowing. I mean we're not trying to take the fun out of
19:55 pretending things or fables, but we do want to show that there
19:59 can be a danger in this particular fable. It was just as
20:03 much fun for me. It's confusing to children anyway when you see
20:07 a Santa on every block and you're taught that there's only
20:11 one Santa Claus and then we see all these counterfeit Santas
20:15 around. So, you have two beautiful children. How have
20:19 you reared your children?
20:21 Basically we have taught them about Christmas from the context
20:24 of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We've taught them that
20:27 Christmas is a time for gift giving, giving as the wise men
20:30 gave to Jesus. They brought their gifts to him. He was needy
20:33 We can bring our gifts to Jesus. We can bring our gifts to people
20:36 who are in need. Matthew 25 says if you've done it unto the least
20:39 of these you've done it unto me. We can give them to each other
20:42 as a reminder of our love for them. So it's definitely a time
20:45 of gift giving, it's definitely a time to remember Christ in the
20:48 person of those who are poor and suffering and our loved ones.
20:51 We have taught them that Santa is nothing that we want to
20:54 believe in, nothing that we want to get focused on. Why? Because
20:58 Santa represents everything that Jesus has to offer us. Why put
21:02 something counterfeit in there when Jesus is the one that
21:04 offers us all of those things that we need, all of the
21:07 principles. See really the reason why the world gets so
21:09 involved in Santa Claus and even children do is because he is
21:14 offering the very thing that we need. We need those qualities.
21:18 We need someone who brings rewards, who offers us good
21:21 cheer, who answers our requests, who is aware of our needs, and
21:27 comes to us and delivers his promises. We need someone like
21:32 Santa Claus and that person is Jesus. So what we've taught our
21:37 children is to look to Christ, to focus the whole event on
21:40 Jesus and don't even think... You know Santa Claus obviously
21:44 to many kids can't be real. There's Santa, there's Santa
21:47 how can he be in all those places but to some kids it's
21:50 devastating. I'm not even going to believe in Jesus because he's
21:53 so close to Santa and you lied to me about Santa and obviously
21:57 you're probably lying to me about Jesus too.
21:59 So they think he's just a myth. Yes.
22:01 You know there are also so many children who are so disappointed
22:06 at Christmas who do believe in Santa Claus because they get
22:10 nothing and they wonder, I tried to be as good as I could all
22:13 yearlong and Santa Claus just couldn't find my house.
22:18 It's almost like they're performing for Santa's
22:22 acceptance and then they cannot get that because the family is
22:26 too poor I've heard people who've said my mother used to
22:31 tell me well Santa couldn't find us this year or we moved or
22:35 something happened and they were devastated. It's almost like you
22:39 can build in that performance mentality because Jesus doesn't
22:45 just say he knows our works. He says I also know, in
22:49 Jeremiah 13:23, he says I know you can't change yourself any
22:53 more than and Ethiopian can change his skin or a leopard can
22:56 change his spots, but if you'll come to me I'll do the work in
23:00 you. I will recreate you, God says, in the image of my Son.
23:04 This is your destiny, to be conformed to his image.
23:07 I'll do this work in you, you don't have to try to perform for
23:11 me under your own power. All I ask is that you surrender
23:14 control of your life to me. I'll work in you to will and to act
23:17 according to my good pleasure.
23:19 Amen, Shelley. You know, you think about that in this context
23:24 when you see Jesus Christ as the one and the ultimate being
23:28 counterfeited here by Satan, you recognize that if Satan can
23:32 get us to lose confidence in someone who's so like Jesus in
23:36 so many ways, he can get us to lose confidence in Jesus.
23:40 If Santa can't find our home, can Jesus find it? If Santa
23:44 can't answer our requests, can Jesus answer them? If Santa
23:47 isn't there for us, is Jesus going to be there for us?
23:50 If Santa is a myth and a fable, is Jesus a myth and a fable?
23:54 Now how many times have we heard the idea from atheists, from
23:57 people who are unbelievers that the Bible is just full of myth
24:00 and fable. Where do they even get that idea? Well it begins in
24:04 early childhood. It begins at the very inception of
24:07 understanding and trust that every child has, has to have in
24:09 order to survive. A trust that is given to the earthly parents
24:14 to those who are supposed to be older and wiser that if Satan
24:18 can get in there and break and sever and destroy and undermine
24:22 then he has prepared the way for them to distrust Christ
24:25 to distrust everything Christ has to offer and everything he
24:28 represents to us.
24:29 When you think about this elaborate lie that parents, and
24:32 they have good intentions because they have maybe fond
24:36 memories of Christmas, but when you think about perpetuating
24:41 this lie and teaching your child for 6, 8, sometimes 10 years of
24:45 their childhood and you continually... You know I mean
24:49 I can remember when we took our little niece because she did
24:53 believe in Santa Claus. We were given the assignment one night
24:56 on Christmas eve to take her around and to watch the skies
25:03 for his chariot, his sleigh. So we were going around looking
25:09 at the sky. Well then her father came and he put all the presents
25:13 out so that she thinks Santa Claus came while we were gone.
25:18 It seems innocuous, it seems like it's fun but what we can do
25:24 is set up our children to not trust in their parents because
25:28 the parents have perpetuated this lie for so long. Let me ask
25:32 you a question. A child psychologist may be watching
25:35 us to day and they're saying poor James' children, those poor
25:39 little babies, they don't get to use their imagination and have
25:43 any fun. Have your children been damaged by you telling them
25:47 the truth. You know, my kids look forward
25:50 to Christmas a little bit more than I would like. They do enjoy
25:55 it and in our home it's a special occasion but it's one
26:00 that we really also try to turn out toward giving, toward
26:05 helping, toward focusing outwardly toward others
26:08 but have my kids been damaged by it? No. Just like all other
26:11 kids, Christmas is a very special time of the year for
26:14 them. They look forward to it, they love it, not just because
26:17 necessarily they're going to receive something in the form
26:20 of a present but because it's a family time. I told you I was
26:23 in Botswana this Christmas and it's the first time I've been
26:26 away from my family and kids in 17 years of marriage and I would
26:30 say 14 years of having kids. My son's 14. So it was the first
26:34 time and it was difficult for them and for me. I realized how
26:38 much of a family time Christmas has come to be to us. Now the
26:41 grandparents were there and they had a great time with family
26:45 and did all the things that we normally do, but I think that
26:49 Christmas... we don't need some of the other stuff. In fact, I
26:52 think Santa really does add to the secular emphasis on
26:56 Christmas that really is not necessary for us to really
27:00 enjoy it and focus on in the way that God would have us do.
27:04 James, thank you so much for sharing this with us today.
27:07 We have really enjoyed having you here.
27:09 It's been good being here.
27:11 You know, for those of you at home, if you have been teaching
27:14 your children about Santa Claus we've given you a lot to chew on
27:18 today. But let me just say this. Consider making some beautiful
27:22 Christmas traditions of your own. Your children will look
27:25 forward to Christmas and they will trust you if they know that
27:28 you're always telling them the truth. For me Christmas is one
27:31 of my most special times of the year. We love it at our home.
27:35 And we always make a bit to do of it. So this is something for
27:39 you to consider and pray about. I hope that you've been blessed
27:43 by today's program. Right now my prayer for you is that the
27:47 love of our Lord Jesus Christ, the grace of the Father and
27:50 the fellowship of the Holy Spirit will be with you today
27:54 and throughout the rest of the year.