"Perhaps the thing about Christmas that bothers Christians more than anything else," says the Christian Research Institute, "is Santa Claus. Is Santa a hopelessly pagan idea, or can Santa Claus be saved?"
Even though Santa Claus is partly based on the fourth-century Christian bishop Saint Nicholas, the modern Santa is a secular figure who appears in many thoroughly secular contexts, including numerous horror films and even some adult films.
Some songwriters have tried to "save" the secular Santa by writing songs that place him in an explicitly Christian context. These songwriters, whether or not they viewed Santa as a secular rival of Jesus, usually tried to mend the perceived rift between the two by grafting religion onto Santa or grafting Santa onto religion.
But some of these attempts to mix Santa and religion seem to confuse rather than clarify. For example, is the vintage greeting card pictured above suggesting that Santa hears our prayers?
Today on Music Weird, we'll listen to some of the efforts to combine Santa and religion. A few are earnest and a few are jokes, but all are unusual. In these songs, you'll hear a number of offbeat revisions to the Santa and God stories: God is Santa, Santa is God, Santa is immortal, Santa is guided by prayers, etc.