Just in time for this Christmas season, there is a new movie in theaters with a twist on Santa, Krampus (view trailer here). Krampus is actually an ancient, Alpine pagan character from pre-Christian Austria, a horrific beast who comes once year to scare children into good behavior. As the Gospel spread in that part of Europe centuries ago, the legend of Krampus got intertwined with the celebration of the Christian feast day for Saint Nicholas, on December 6. Old habits are hard to break! National Geographic has an informative write-up on the revival of Krampus celebrations, which generally takes place the night before Saint Nicholas’ day.
As Western culture continues to loosen its moorings to Christendom, it should not surprise us that Krampus makes his way to America. Krampus is yet another attempt in postmodernity to distract us from considering the mystery of the Incarnation. But it would be wrong-headed for Christians to dismiss Christmas itself as simply being of some pagan invention because of Krampus. We really need to be a bit “tongue in cheek” about this. So, I thought it might be helpful to relink a couple of older Veracity posts that dive into the history: