December is the month when images of Santa can be seen everywhere.
The familiar look of Santa was created in 1932 by Haddon Sundblom for a winter advertisement while working as an illustrator for the Coca-Cola company. (Since Coke sales decrease in winter, this was implemented as part of a promotional activity to increase sales in winter)
In contrast to the Santa image we were so familiar with at the time, Sundblom depicted Santa as a symbol of abundance: a thick waist, a puffy fur coat, and a shaggy beard. (Remember, this was during the Great Depression.) From 1932 to 1964, Coca-Cola provided Santa images created by Sundblom in its winter advertisements. And his Santa became the traditional American image of a jolly red-clad man.
People in the world focus on Santa during the Christmas season, but we Christians must let people know that the main character of Christmas is not Santa, but Jesus who came to Bethlehem. He is the Messiah of all mankind to whom we can sing, “Glad the Savior has come.”
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. ” (John 1:14).
President Sung Jin Lim
World Mission University