Monday, December 24, 2012

The Answer to Christmas: Happy

"Why does Santa bring gifts to children on Christmas?"

This was the question that was the basis for a cartoon program I was watching with one of my boys the other day. The question took me a bit by surprise at first since this was a secular, non-religious show. But then as I watched the program I saw where the story line was going and it made sense.

Well, it made sense from a secular stand point. It holds an empty message from a Christian perspective.

I'll skip over the details, but basically the main characters in the show, a set of four kids, find Santa who tells them that he loves making and giving gifts to people. It makes him "happy." As it turns out the answer to the question from the beginning of the show is "Happy." So why does Santa bring children gifts on Christmas? It makes him happy.

Really? That's it?

I know I'm crazy for analyzing a children's cartoon, but here it goes anyway. First of all the "answer" doesn't really answer the question. "Why on Christmas?" is how I heard this question. Giving gifts (or anything nice and unexpected, for that matter) often makes the giver happy and the giftee happy (presumably). It feels good to give gifts. I don't want to belittle the message this show was trying to convey, it was a good message for kids. However, it still falls short.

Christmas is so much more than just giving gifts to our loved ones. As Christians we know this. We recognize this day as the day God gave the human race the greatest gift ever, the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. It's not just an arbitrary day to give gifts to make us all happy.

I don't expect a secular TV show to get into the religious purpose of Christmas, but it still left me a bit empty.

I guess my take away from this was that I'm glad to be a Christian and to recognize a higher purpose for Christmas. Specifically, I'm glad to be a Catholic where we follow a liturgical calendar that places Christmas into a logical place in the year along with all the other feast days and memorials in the Church.

It's too bad some TV programs go out of their way to try to do a Christmas show without bringing in the actual purpose for Christmas. It just leaves an empty feeling instead of the "happy" feeling they were going for.


  1. I hear you! This is one reason that we keep media to a minimum

    1. Yes, we do too. This was a rare occasion, home with a sick child. And you're right, shows with messages like this are a really good reason for not watching much at all anyway.