Parents, Pastors Wrestle With Place of Santa at Christmas
When the Rev. John McCausland crafted his Christmas Eve sermon at his Episcopal church in Weare, N.H., he always followed a basic formula.
There had to be a brother and a sister in the story. Jesus and the holy family played a prominent role. And there was always an appearance from Santa Claus.
“If we never mention Santa Claus, then you create a parallel universe,” said McCausland, who retired in June. “What I try to do in this story is to tie the two together, but not make Santa Claus primary.”
McCausland kept the Jesus-and-Santa story tradition for 14 years at Holy Cross Episcopal Church. Children would carry the figures to the creche display and sit for McCausland’s story, in which Santa often joins in the adoration of the Christ child.
Just where to place the jolly elf in the original Christmas story can be a perennial dilemma for both parents and pastors. This year, two new products draw on educating kids about the origins of Santa, or inspiring them to become Santas themselves.