Santa Claus takes a back seat to Jesus
Finally—it’s Christmas time again. Some of us have been waiting for a full year for Christmas to come again. And, some of us have been celebrating since before Thanksgiving—that’s a pet peeve of mine, but I’ll save that complaint for another time.
It seems to me that Christmas has changed over the years. It used to be bigger than it is now. The disparity may be no more than the difference between the bright eyes of a boy a few years ago, and the shadowy eyes of an older man now? But the glitter of Christmas seems to have changed.
When I was a very young boy, our family would go to downtown St. Louis just to walk the streets and look at the Christmas windows. We would walk the entire city block around the Stix, Baer & Fuller and Famous & Barr downtown department stores. Most of us wouldn’t even go downtown nowadays—certainly not at night. But when I was a kid, downtown St. Louis was paradise at night, at Christmas time. The windows were lit brighter than daylight and full of dreams. There were trains—I specifically remember the elaborate displays of electric trains running through countryside scenes and small towns. There was always a sleigh with a big guy in a red suit and a bag full of toys. I remember one scene in which the sleigh would hit a bump, some toys would fall out, but elves were following picking up the toys, putting them back in the bag—so that no toys were lost. That was important. The winter wonderland scenes in those department store windows seemed larger than life. They were larger than life to this young boy.
Christmas is a very special time of the year. Even to this old man—Christmas is a very special time of the year. And, there are nearly as many different and special ways to celebrate Christmas as there are people who celebrate the holiday. Most prominently, there are those of us who celebrate the Christ of Christmas. And, there are those who simply celebrate the wrappings and trappings of Christmas.
You would expect me to say that celebrating Jesus is the only genuine observance of Christmas—and it’s true, Jesus really is the reason for the season. But Myra and I also have two granddaughters who will also be celebrating with a character affectionately called Santa Claus. And, I want my granddaughters and your grandchildren and your children … I want the children to have fun at Christmas. I don’t mean to spoil their fun. But I ran across something that, I think, puts everything in perspective for us. It is entitled: Why Jesus is Better Than Santa Claus:
• Santa lives at the North Pole.
• JESUS is everywhere.
• Santa rides in a sleigh.
• JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.
• Santa comes only once a year.
• JESUS is an ever present Help.
• Santa fills your stockings with goodies.
• JESUS supplies all your needs.
• Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly.
• JESUS has a heart full of LOVE.
• All Santa can do is “HO, HO, HO.”
• JESUS offers health, help and lasting hope.
• Santa says “You better not cry.”
• JESUS says “Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.”
• You have to wait in line to see Santa.
• JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.
• Santa lets you sit on his lap.
• JESUS lets you rest in His arms.
• Santa may make you chuckle.
• JESUS gives you lasting joy that is your strength.
• Santa comes down your chimney (if you have one) univited.
• JESUS stands at your heart’s door and knocks, and enters your heart when invited.
• Santa’s little helpers make toys.
• JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.
• Santa puts gifts under your tree.
• JESUS became our gift and died on a tree that we might have the gift of everlasting life.
There really is no comparison. And, please know that I really am not trying to spoil the children’s fun—I am not intentionally trying to put down the big guy in the red suit. Nor am I trying to give him too much print space. But, I do think it is especially important for Christians to recognize that the only genuine celebration of Christmas is a celebration of the Christ of Christmas.
Jesus really is the reason for the season! Celebrate Him!