This video (which I cannot seem to embed to save my life; help?) is one reason why I choose to worship at the alter of the Daily Show rather than, say, in an actual church.
Confused? Why, don’t be! Once your eyes adjust you’ll realize it’s just Santa Claus.
… in the middle of church.
… during the childrens’ sermon.
… two days after Christmas.
I might not have believed it myself had I not been sitting there on the third row with my camera at the ready. And the children? You can imagine their wide eyes and startled expressions. As an astute theologian friend of mine remarked, in response to this image and my recounting of the pastor’s prayer that said, in part, “we thank you [God?] for the gifts that Santa has provided”: “Wow. Did he kneel in front of the manger? Take the baby Jesus out of his giant sack as the `best gift ever given on Christmas?’ Sacrifice Blitzen on the altar to coincide with Levitical law?”
Of course he didn’t, but seriously: where poor theologies abound, the possibilities are truly endless.
I couldn’t help but think about the first chapter in Augusten Burroughs’ new collection of Christmas stories, “You Better Not Cry” (also the book’s title), in which 8-year old Augusten is hopelessly confused and thinks that Jesus and Santa are actually the same person. I listened to it during my drive Down South, a few days before going to church. As a result, I laughed out loud when Santa came bursting through the church doors on the Sunday after Christmas. And I wondered:
But then figured: