Away From the Manger

7 Dec

I have a conflicted relationship with Christmas.   

I love the idea of it all, the decorations and lights, caroling and cocoa, candlelight services and matching plaid pajamas. But the reality of pulling it all off leaves me overwhelmed. At my core, I am a type B person with type A expectations.   

And then, there’s my fingernails-on-the-chalkboard-level annoyance with one of the great travesties of the season.   

Kneeling Santa.   

I know you’ve seen it.   

There’s a book.   

Bald Santa says "Hats Off for Baby Jesus!"

Ornaments by the zillion.   

"Please, Baby Jesus, heal me from the metal hook in my head."

Nativity Scenes.   

"Dude, thank goodness you're here. The wise men's gifts sucked. Got a 'Tickle Me Elmo' in that bag?"

And of course, the holiest of holies. Yard art. 

"Uh, Baby Jesus, your diaper is glowing. I'm going to go find Mary."

Look, I get the thought behind Kneeling Santa: that the trappings and gifts we spend so much time on are not at the heart of the season. But then — “Oh the irony!” We package up that anti-commercial message in a clever little package and make MILLIONS selling tacky tchotchkes.   

Search “Kneeling Santa” and you get hundreds of thousands of matches, many of them all yours for the low, low price of $19.99. Act now and at Easter, we’ll ship you a limited edition ornament of the Easter Bunny crying at the foot of the cross.   

Just no, okay?   

Santa didn’t come to the manager on his sled. Rudolph’s red nose didn’t illuminate the angels as they appeared to the shepherds. There were no stockings hung in the stable. Frosty didn’t tip his top hat to the King of Kings. The Grinch brought no Roast Beast.   

That night in Bethlehem is already the ultimate mix of holy and human, when God became flesh and dwelt among us. You don’t need to shove Santa in with the Savior and hang Christmas lights on the manger to make it more compelling.   

But, I must admit, that motion-activated recording of  “Oh Come, Let Us Adore Him?”   

That’s a nice touch.

18 Responses to “Away From the Manger”

  1. Ed Harvey December 7, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    I couldn’t agree more!! I don’t remember a huge candy cane in the book of Luke. And it doesn’t mention elves making the gifts the wisemen brought either,…weird.

  2. Melissa Wayne December 7, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    Nicely said.

  3. Katie December 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    I love this!

    And I know this might sound obvious but Santa would have never come to Jesus’ manager for two reasons.

    1. Jesus was born around August to November during the census taking time which is a well documented time of year during of the Roman empire. I mean if you want to get technical Christmas was created to replace Saturnalius the GrecoRoman winter harvest holiday to help create an ease of transition for converting Pagan followers. Just like the Celtic Cross or Easter.

    But I mean putting all that logic aside there is still one unavoidable fact of why Santa would NEVER have come to visit baby Jesus on Christmas…

    2. Jesus was Jewish.

  4. Sean December 7, 2009 at 12:38 pm #


    My wife and I were talking about this just this weekend as we were putting up our front yard nativity. I have always HATED the kneeling Santa. I’ve wanted to buy a shotgun for the joy of blowing off his bald head. (Deep breaths. Deep breaths.)

    We have a beautifully painted nativity on three 4′ x 8′ panels. My wife has been wanting to add a panel with some camels and maybe something else. I joked, “How ’bout a kneeling Santa?” I’m still trying to work my juicy fruits back into their appropriate position.

    You rock!

  5. stephy December 7, 2009 at 1:21 pm #

    This is awesome.

  6. Tracy Young December 7, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    Seeing Santa kneeling at Jesus’ manger was like the first time I saw any Jim Carrey movie… At first, I thought that was cute and nice. Then the more I saw of it, I started to get annoyed. Nice thought to keep Christ in Christmas, but not really a good evangelistic tool… stick to candycanes really being “J’s” for Jesus. (Which will be the next blog on here) 🙂

  7. Elle December 7, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    Oh my gosh, those are tacky. So are the “Legend of the Candy Canes.” Blech!! So annoying! And hokey.

  8. Elle December 7, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    Oh–also love the new header!

  9. Bethany December 7, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    What the hell??? I’ve never seen such a weird thing before!! Hahaha!! CREEPY.

  10. Jane December 7, 2009 at 9:14 pm #

    You certainly speak for me! I have loathed those attempts to combine Jesus and Santa. They are lame justifications for letting Santa (i.e., our lavish indulgences) overrun the original reason for the holiday-Jesus’ birth. We should keep those two things separate and not let ourselves ever be confused about which is more important.

  11. Colleen December 7, 2009 at 10:42 pm #

    I must have been Christmasing under a rock all these years. I’ve never seen a “kneeling Santa.” And, my life’s been plenty full without it.

  12. Dawn's mom December 8, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    this is hilarious—the hook in he head–imeancomeon. i giggled aloud.

  13. ingrid December 8, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    I’ve never noticed kneeling Santas. Guess I’m not paying attention.

  14. Jen December 8, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    Love it — “At my core, I am a type B person with type A expectations.”
    That is also so me.

  15. Kathie December 8, 2009 at 10:37 pm #

    How have I missed the kneeling Santa all these years?!

  16. Jane444 December 9, 2009 at 9:03 am #

    Never seen this before in my life!! And Elle….what’s the candy cane thing? Do I live under a rock?

  17. Foodycat December 12, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    What the hell? I have never seen one of these! In the UK and Australia we keep Santa and Jesus fairly separated. As it should be.

    On the other hand, I love the idea of the Easter Bunny doing the Stations of the Cross.

  18. amber December 12, 2009 at 7:56 pm #

    Not sure whether a snarky snort or a giggle is more appropriate, so I’ll do both.

    You nailed it…

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