Santa & Easter Bunny More Popular Than Jesus?
Perhaps, like a number of your fellow citizens, you have marveled during various seasons of year why Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny seem to eclipse Jesus in the attention of Americans.
One simple explanation might be that we live in the here and now, on this planet Earth, and not in some otherly realm of past or future or eternity, or heaven or hell or purgatory or nirvana (or whatever). So, of course, we're going to tend to be more preoccupied with things of this earth, whether they be job or sport or food or family or school or hobby, than with things that may run deeper within us as a continuing undercurrent, like faith or belief or philosophy or truth. We will thus perhaps tend to devote far more time and energy and concern to the anniversary of the birth of our very own son or daughter, than to that of the reputed resurrection of an ancient prophet and messiah in the foreign culture of a faraway land. Each year, the commerce and festivities and paraphernalia surrounding Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are right smack before us, in our own homes and towns and cities, and on the minds and lips and TV screens of almost all those near to us. It's therefore only to be expected that such constant hullabaloo would tend to crowd out other, more contemplative themes.
Another explanation lies in the very nature of religious belief: it is private and personal and unique and scared to the individual. What I think of or feel toward the historical Jesus (or an ever-present and eternal Jesus, if such exists) is my own, alone. It requires no explanation, and demands no explication. I should not feel compelled to share it or proselytize or define it or defend it. And I have no right to question or undermine or attack or defy your views of Jesus, either.
My views of Santa and the Easter Bunny, by contrast, have no such personal aspect or weight or import. They are commonly held and widely dispersed, traded in the marketplace of human commerce and social interaction, year in and year out. They are worn on the sleeve, so to speak. They become common currency, and are thus no more than common. I'd be happy to prattle on all day long with you about Good 'O' Saint Nick, debating his North Pole home, his nine faithful reindeer, his penchant for milk and cookies, and his disconcerting habit of entering private residences in the dark of night, unannounced, clandestinely, through chimneys, leaving booty of undocumented origin and sooty footprints on the carpet.
One final reason might be that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are shills for the world's hucksters. They lend themselves readily to propagation on pez dispensers, masks, decals, greeting cards, pajamas, candy, coloring books, costumes, floats, knickknacks, cupcakes, yard inflatables, and every conceivable size, shape and type of cheap toy or trinket. While I might feel some compunction about trying to sell you a candy-colored miniature plastic manger replicating the birthplace of Jesus, I'd have no hesitation hawking baskets full of plastic grass and pastel eggshells, or snow-domes of Arctic elven workshops.
So, why are Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny more popular than Jesus? One might just as well ask why The Hunger Games are more popular than The Pickwick Papers. Or NASCAR more popular than opera. Or Kardashians more popular than . . . well . . . anything else trite or trashy or trivial.