December 27 2013

When Santa learned the gospel – a poem

santa gospel 2


UPDATE! This poem has now been turned into a children’s book and animated video.
Find out more at

When Santa learned the gospel, he first heard it from an elf.

This tiny Santa’s helper had just learnt of it himself.


A child had asked for Christmas to receive a Bible book.

This elf had made one in the shop, then paused to have a look.


He read all about Jesus and the call to follow him.

He learned how Jesus lived and taught and died to pay for sin.


He learned how Jesus rose again and how he will return

And then this elf read how he should respond to all he’d learned.


He shut the book, put down his tools, then closed his eyes and prayed.

Right there and then this little elf trusted in Christ that day.


The next day he told Santa. It was awkward, unprepared.

He knew he didn’t know that much, but what he knew he shared.


He told Santa the gospel. It was simple. It was short.

But a seed was sown in Santa’s heart, which grew into a thought.


Santa reflected on his life and the message he supported,

Then compared it to the gospel that the elf had just reported.


He’d always thought that everyone was naughty or was nice.

He had them all on two big lists. He even checked it twice.


He’d always thought that you got gifts only if you’d been good.

The naughty kids got lumps of coal. That’s what he understood.


They’d all line up in shopping malls and sit upon his knee

And claim that they were always nice. As nice as nice can be.


Of course, he saw them when they slept and knew when they awoke.

He also knew their nice attempts were pretty much a joke.


Their heads were filled not with nice thoughts of kindness, peace and joy,

But with the never-ending list of their desired toys.


He knew their hearts, but he had thought, “They’re trying to be good.

That’s good enough to make the list. Otherwise no one would!”


So every year their “good enough” with toys would be rewarded.

And every year (he realised) this message he supported:







That was the message that he knew, but now he knew another.

He had just heard the gospel. So he compared them to each other.


The message of the gospel turned his message upside down.

The good, the bad, naughty and nice, it switched it all around.


“There’s no one good but God alone” he’d heard Jesus concluded.

And those who claim they’re “good enough” are simply just deluded.


If there’s a list of who is “good”, the standard we’ve all missed.

And Santa saw that even he was on the naughty list.


That shook his world. That rocked his boat. That gripped him in his soul.

To think that even Santa Claus deserved a lump of coal.


But that was only half of what the gospel message said.

It also flipped what happened to the naughty on its head.


Instead of being written off as just not good enough.

The message to the naughty list was one of grace and love.


The gospel offered mercy to all those deserving coal.

The gospel offered forgiveness and cleansing of your soul.


The gospel told how Jesus died our death to pay the price

To reconcile us all to God – both naughty and the nice.


This offer was a real gift, unlike presents ‘neath the tree.

It was not earned by being good. It was offered for free.


For all his life Santa had claimed that if you had been bad

Then you would not get presents and your Christmas would be sad.


Santa compared his message with this new one he had learned.

His message said you get the presents your good deeds had earned.


The message of the gospel offered something so much greater…

Jesus had come to reconcile the world to their Creator.


When Santa grasped the gospel, he did not know what to do

And so the elf said nervously, “How ’bout I pray with you?”


Then that night at the North Pole, by the fire in his den,

With a simple prayer led by an elf, Santa was born again.


And now, in Christ, forgiven, free – his new life had begun

and Santa had a new message to share with everyone.


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Posted December 27, 2013 by Simon in category "Christianity", "Christmas", "Theology


  1. By Shirley on

    Moment of revelation, and cutest line, “If there’s a list of who is “good”, the standard we’ve all missed.

    And Santa saw that even he was on the naughty list.”

    This Santa must have been a fraud anyway, as the original St Nicholas was a true blue believer…. So no wonder he was oblivious to the gospel. Very pleased to hear Santa is now born again.

  2. By Daniel on

    You would think Saint Nicholas would have read the Holy Bible at some stage before becoming a Christian Saint. Other than that, I think this was great.

  3. By Simon (Post author) on

    I agree Daniel!
    St Nicholas was a wonderful Christian man. But I think the modern mythology about Santa is as far removed from the original St Nick as can be!

  4. By Ian Conabere on

    Interesting poem. I have never believed the naughty/ nice myth. But that a child wanted a Bible for Christmas is good. Someone somewhere has been sharing the message of Christ, which is the reason for Christmas. Let the children know the true story, so they have the opportunity to choose to follow when God knows they are ready. Don’t force it by removing the joys of Christmas…

  5. By Joy on

    I loved this poem. Let’s not judge Santa; Let’s be glad someone found a new way to share the gospel. Well done! <3

  6. By Matt on

    Santa is a made up story to teach people morality lessons with the promise of a fictional reward at the end.

    God is a made up story to teach people morality lessons with the promise of a fictional reward at the end.

    Why not believe in both?

    At the end you’ll find they’re all a lie told to children.

  7. By Dr Stephen Mendleson on

    A interesting mashup between two fictional worlds

  8. By Simon (Post author) on

    Hey Matt,
    I think you’ve missed the whole point of the gospel! The Christian message isn’t that we should live a moral life with the promise of a reward at the end.
    The Christian gospel (as opposed to Santa’s morality and the message of most other religions) is that we have failed at living a moral life and are unable to rescue ourselves and restore our relationship with God. It says that Jesus lived the moral live we haven’t and died the death that we deserved, and that those who trust in him don’t just receive some reward at the end, but are reconciled to God in the here and now.
    You still may believe that message is fictional, but at least get it right and see its radical difference to every other religion.

  9. By Grace on

    I think you have an interesting poem here, but thought I should point out that it is a rather misleading poem. Misleading because it suggests that Santa came from a totally non-Christian background, and that he magically heard about the Gospel from an elf. I agree Santa is fictional and almost entirely commercialized, but still it cannot be denied that his roots lie in Christianity. The Santa character evolved from the works of St. Nicholas, a very real man who lived and breathed, and a very real man who lived, breathed and devoted his life to the Christian faith. The well-informed individual would be aware of this fact, however, the less informed people (perhaps children) after reading your poem might be inclined to think that Santa truly did not know the Gospel at all, and stemmed from non-Christian roots. Maybe instead of the elf bringing the Gospel to Santa, it should be made clear that it is the life of Jesus that brought us St. Nicholas, and it was the works of St. Nicholas that gave rise to Santa, and commercialization has brought Santa far from his roots. It is a nice poem, but fundamentally inaccurate.

  10. By Simon (Post author) on

    Hey Grace! Thanks for your comment.
    I think the problem is that I put a fairly strong distinction between Santa and St Nicholas. St Nicholas was a wonderful Christian man but he died many years ago. Santa on the other hand is a mythological character (like Spider-man) who may have had his origins in the original St Nicholas, but is so radically different that I think St Nick would be truly appalled at the connection.
    So, in that light, I don’t think that the poem suggests that St Nicholas magically heard the Gospel from an elf. The character of Santa however, as he is presented in modern mythology, has no idea what the gospel is. He is the embodiment of legalistic or moralistic religion, which thinks that “good” people get rewarded and “bad” people get punished.
    This is what I respond to and critique with this poem. Not the original St Nicholas, but the myth of Santa.

    One might argue that Christians should never use the myth of Santa, and we should spend our time trying to remind people about Santa’s origins. But it’s a poem. It’s a piece of art. And I could point to the precedent of C S Lewis who used the character of Santa in his great work “The Lion, Witch & the Wardrobe” as a symbol of how there was “always winter but never Christmas” and when Santa turns up it’s a sign that Aslan is coming. Lewis here is clearly not representing the original man, St Nicholas, but using the mythological character of Santa for his artistic purposes. I am trying to do the same with this poem.

    I hope that helps explain some of my reasoning Grace. I’m sure we stand side by side on many more important issues. Have a wonderful Christmas!

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