(#122) The Proverbs of Solomon 17:8-Why “Santa Claus” Is Popular

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 17:8: “A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; Wherever he turns, he prospers.”

“A present” is a voluntary expression of love or concern from a friend or family member. It was given in the past, but remains as a “present” reminder of those thoughts. Truly, “it is the thought that counts.” The “present” should be received with the same appreciation with which it was chosen by the giver.

Jacob, fearful of his reunion with his brother Esau, “took what came to his hand as a present for Esau his brother” (Genesis 32:13), too much to wrap (Genesis 32:14-15)! Deep in famine and later in life, Jacob, now named Israel, thought he was dealing with a powerful man in Egypt (who was really his long-lost son!), told his other sons: “Take some of the best fruits of the land in your vessels and carry down a present for the man-a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds” (Genesis 43:11). He believed in the proverbial truth about gifts: “A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men” (Proverbs 18:16); “Many entreat the favor of the nobility, And every man is a friend to one who gives gifts” (Proverbs 19:6). Rarely does anyone go wrong by gift-giving. The make-believe “Santa Claus” was invented because everyone likes to receive a gift. The real Jesus Christ, however, taught that “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

The “gift of God” is for everyone who lives by God’s rule: “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:19). “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). If properly considered, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Unlike the mythical “Santa Claus,” God requires our obedience to enjoy His gifts! God blesses with “His indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15), but the ultimate “gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus Christ “became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9), so Jesus requires of “every creature,” “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:15-16).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.