As a very young child, my parents were very much into the Santa Claus thing. Every Christmas, there were stockings hung by the fireplace, and a little plate full of goodies for Santa and the Reindeer, on a small table by the fireplace. In the morning, guess what? Most of the food on the plate was gone. I didn't know, that they had been playing a trick on me.
I was convinced that Santa Claus was real, but my childhood friends ridiculed me, and told me that this was just a myth,- that it wasn't Santa Claus at all. It was just something that my parents made up. Finally I confronted my parents, and they admitted to me, that the whole thing was a made up story. I was devastated. My parents, whom I trusted, had lied to me. And my friends, were the ones who had been telling me the truth. Who were the ones whom, that I trusted,- to tell me about the important things in life, when I got to be a teenager? You guessed it !
There have been surveys taken. They asked young people, when they stopped trusting their parents. The overwhelming answer, was when they found out their parents had lied to them,- about Santa Claus.
The whole Santa Claus thing is a good example as to how Satan can misuse the memory of a very good man. Nicholas of Myra, lived around 300 AD. He was a very good Christian man, but Satan has turned the memory of him into an idol. Nicholas inherited a large sum of money from his parents, but he gave most of it to the poor. It has been recorded that poor people often left empty shoes out for Bishop Nicholas, on Christmas eve, and in the morning they would find gifts, or money in their shoes.
The same type of thing happened in the Bible, with the serpent on the pole, which the Children of Israel turned into an idol. The account of the serpent on the pole is found in Numbers 21:8,9. The people were being bitten by poisonous serpents. Then the Lord told Moses to make a bronze serpent, and place it on a pole, and if the ones, who had been bitten by a fiery serpent, looked at the serpent on the pole, they would live.
In 2nd Kings 18:4, we find that Hezekiah, one of the good kings of Judah, had the serpent on the pole removed, because the Children of Israel were burning incense to it, calling it Nehushtan. This is another case where Satan took a good thing, the serpent on the pole,- a representation of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, and turned it into an idol, an object of worship.
You've all seen this serpent on the pole. It has been adopted by the American Medical Association as their symbol. It is seen in, or on, virtually all doctor's offices.
God frowns on any idolatry. Any physical object, no matter what it is, can become an idol, and the object of one's attention or affection. God's command, found in Exodus 20:4, is: "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, - any likeness of ANYTHING THAT IS IN HEAVEN ABOVE, OR THAT IS IN THE EARTH BENEATH, OR THAT IS IN THE WATER UNDER THE EARTH." Are there toys that are idols? Many seem to fit that description! Better choose your gifts of toys carefully!
" My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." Hosea 4:6