30 November 2011

Jesus & Santa, Black or White

There are some beautiful images of African-American Jesus Christs all over the internet. I wanted to post one of my favorites, but I couldn't find one that is copyright free. While I celebrate the right of religious freedom, including Christians worshiping whatever race of Jesus Christ they wish, Jesus was not a black man. However, he was also not the pale white man in most artist's depictions of Him either. Jesus was born Jewish. While the modern image of a Jewish person may be varied, the image of a Jewish person around the time and place Jesus was born is fairly predictable - vaguely being olive skinned with wavy or curly, dark hair. I searched for an image of this type of man and found one. It is called "1st Century Semitic Man" by Donato Giancola. Click here to view it. All this being said we must remember that Jesus' Father is our Heavenly Father. Do you know what He looks like? Was Jesus, as our modern language would say, biracial? Besides, does Jesus look the same now as He did when He was on Earth? To me these are questions that need not be answered. I support all religions (well, ones that do not pose a threat to my family, but that's a whole other can of worms), and I support Christians worshiping whatever race of Jesus their family chooses.

Now Santa is different because I know Jesus Christ is a real person and Santa Claus is not. Since Santa is imaginary I believe he can be any race anyone wants him to be. I've heard that he's magic and can change to look like the people in the house he's visiting at the time. Well, that won't work for our family since we don't all look the same.

I am a Christian. I have struggled with whether or not to tell my children that Santa exists. I have thought long and hard about it and in the end I decided Santa will be a part of our Christmas', but not a large part. This post is not about that particular parental decision.

Since I've decided not to boycott Santa I have to think about Santa's race. His race may not be an issue this year, but I feel I should make this kind of decision in advance so I don't have to make spur-of-the-moment decisions later. I want to have clear in my mind what I will say. As far as how often my children see an image of Santa, I own the old Christmas classic TV shows I watched as a child, but am leaning toward not showing them any longer in our home. I have talked to my almost three year old son about Santa, but am starting to regret it. I don't have to make the choice as to what race(s) the images of Santa will be in our home because I do not want images of Santa in our home. They are, however, in every store we go into, in other people's homes, in outdoor decorations we pass, and almost everywhere else we look in December. So the question of Santa's race may come up. As of right now I honestly do not have a clear answer in my mind as to what answer I will give my child(ren) if or when they ask. I am still thinking on it. I know it's not a serious subject, but I still want to know how I feel is the best way to answer the question of Santa's race, and I do not know that yet. Have you made a decision? If so, and are willing to share it, what decision has your family come to?

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  1. The other day my wife asked if we should tell Ramona about Santa and I said I don't know. This is why; I come from a culture where Christmas traditions do not feature strongly in Christmas celebrations. My wife is Romanian, and Romanians have so many practices about Christmas- Santa included. So I have left it open- but then I may have to know about all the other things apart from Jesus because it looks like questions will come. Thanks for this!

  2. This has crossed my mind a few times as of lately. My idea was to keep Santa figures of all skin colors around the house and to explain to the children that nobody really knows what Santa looks like since they haven't seen him. Also, we have covered the fact that Santa is more about believing than seeing. No Santa movies here, because we tend to focus more on the real meaning of Christmas.

  3. So I looked through my home to see if there were any Santa images that I was unaware of. I found a few! They were all Christmas tree ornaments that I never thought twice about until this year. I did not realize we have so many of Santa (I think there were about five). I thought and made the decision to just get rid of them. There were a couple from friends that I would have liked to keep, but my kids are more important. I'm sure my friends will understand. The questions about Santa's race may still come up, of course, but I haven't yet decided what my answer will be.

  4. I guess I do not have any authority in the matter, but to keep the "truth" of Santa there. Since you and Spud are Santa, say he is white. You could if you wanted to get the little elves on a shelf, that report to Santa for each child, I think those come in all races. Those are so neat too. My Sister uses the one that was her husbands as a child. If you get one for each child then they each have one to use with their future children.


  5. If we have Santa imagines in our home, they will be white...because essentially, Mama and Daddy are "santa" to our children and we are white. It would be so confusing to them to have black Santa images around our home and then find out their white mama and daddy are Santa.

  6. That is an interesting point of view!


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