If Politicians, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny seem like funny topics to be looking at on Epiphany, it is because this is not really a study but a commentary. These three evoke a wide range of emotions, both positive and negative. We have carried them into the Church of Jesus and their good and evil effects are one tare that the angels will get to burn when Jesus comes again.
This springtime version of Santa Claus came to America with our German ancestors. The link below does a good job of looking at the topic.
Unlike Santa Claus, the egg-laying mammal only brings good things for children, no threat of coal. Naughty or nice is not part of the narrative, just treats after the long harsh period of Lent.
Our jolly giver of presents is a mix of traditions. The club of his accounting system never seems to be used. Presents are always waiting to be opened if there is a tree present in your house. Inappropriate behavior still brings a wonderful gift, unless you do not get what you want and then Saint Nick is a rogue. Next year is the redeeming factor in this narrative of “you were good but not good enough”.
Putting politicians together with our magical elf and rabbit may not be fair to them. Knowledge, like politicians, has a good and evil side. Granted, that depends on your preference towards their political identity and the job they are doing. I hope that they have sought that position in order to help people and not themselves. Time will always reveal their usefulness and their motivation.
Comparing and Contrasting These Three
- No matter the present, all three depend on your pocketbook to fulfill the promise.
- Santa Claus and politicians have a fear factor built into their jobs, while the Easter Bunny just deposits blessings that you have to hunt for and not step on.
- Santa and the Bunny are mythical beings with magical powers. Politicians just think and act like they possess those qualities.
- Santa and the Bunny were carried into the Church and used by it to promote some societal connections. It gave them religious imagery to justify their presence in the building, but they are not doctrine.
- Jesus and the Father are not types and shadows of Santa and the Bunny. Politicians are not God, no matter how they act.
- Politicians frequently stay outside of the Church but want to use it and direct it to promote societal connections.
Lessons from the Bible
Very early in Israel’s history, Moses organized governmental offices to help the people (they needed it and so do we). Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, suggested a sensible structure to relieve a lot of stress in governing the people. Exodus 18 covers that story. Jethro was quick to point out that Moses should seek the Lord’s approval on the plan; the Bible does not mention that Moses did that section of the proposal. So, there was a system of governing that centered on the Law and priest, and one that came with the Tribes and community structure. Jump to the Book of Judges and 1 Samuel and we see these roles blurring with God losing out as their leader.
Samuel is a prophet and a judge that was raised by Eli the priest. I think Samuel knew his boundaries, but the people kept blurring them, until they wanted a king, not a judge. By the leading of God, Samuel anoints two kings-Saul who used Law to promote his agenda, and David, who had a heart for God and the people.
Fast forward through good kings and awful kings with several conquering nations thrown in and you arrive at the Roman occupation, High Priest, and the Sanhedrin, complete with Pharisees. Have we learned anything from all of that history?
Jesus in His sermons from the two mounts addresses our relationships to civil and religious (corrupt) authorities-give to Caesar what belongs to him (Matthew 22:21) and they sit in Moses’ position so obey them just don’t to as they do (Matthew 23:2+3). Paul carries these thoughts into 1 Timothy 2:2, where he says to pray for those in authority.
- Who do we look to for our supply and justice? Lately, government has taken on its shoulders the burden of supplying our needs. They are bending society to redefine justice and what it looks like.
- Woke IS NOT a Christian virtue! Bring that into the Church and confusing it with the teaching of Jesus is a HUGE mistake. Woke takes some of the verbiage of Christianity and bends it to suit an agenda that is not the Father’s plan for His children.
- Paul admonishes Christians to be very careful about what you become involved with.
- God’s love is built on righteousness. I have listened to politicians criticize Christians about God and His love and how we love our neighbors. They use a distorted view of love to make these judgements and we, as His Church, have not studied His love enough to voice His views correctly.
- Blaming God and Jesus for bad happenings is not right, they gave. The god of this world is Satan, who causes troubles, sinful man, and crazy nature are not the acts of God. Satan can only steal, kill, and destroy; he is also an accomplished liar.
- The early church in the Book of Acts is not socialism or communism. Unfortunately, I have heard a very popular pastor make that declaration. It did not sit well. The people brought things to help the poor because they wanted too. The Apostles, as leaders, did not want to manage it. Socialism and or Communism are leader mandates that will involve guns and tanks, either in starting it or maintaining their rule. Those two societal systems have taken something from the Bible and twisted it to exalt knowledge and man by creating a ruling class and a follower herd.
How Then Should We…
This saying has been attributed to Saint Patrick-If an institution is in the way of spreading the Gospel of Jesus, that institution needs to change. I can imagine that he was talking about organized religion that has lost its way or a government that wants to stop the Good News.
The government will be on HIS shoulders; that is Jesus the Messiah. (Isaiah 9) Politicians, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny are useful. Maybe they are even needed in society, but the Church better wake up to the confusion they can create in children who grow up thinking politicians, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny are part of the Kingdom of God.