Father Christmas

Matthew 1: 18 – 21

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Santa Claus is an icon, the world over, for kindness and giving but who is this Santa Claus? He has many names and is idealized in many forms and costumes. He is ageless and has magic powers. For all his iterations, there is but one inspiration, your very own father.
I have thought about Santa Claus quite a bit this year. The word “Santa” means holy. Who is more holy than our Father? Some don’t like to focus on Santa Claus because that image may take away from the real message of Christmas. While it’s true that some people see nothing but reindeer and a jolly old man as the image of Christmas, I love what Santa means to me.

I am still a child at heart so I wouldn’t enjoy the fullness of Christmas without the bells and bows, Santa and snowmen. I love it all and I like how it all makes me feel but Santa is more than a jolly old soul to me. He is an image of my heavenly Father. When I hear the word “Santa” I hear “holy” and that makes me think of Yahweh. I love the Christmas cartoons with their jovial yet inspiring messages but all of that is a mere shadow, a reflection of the great joy our Father brings. Only God could provide the inspiration for a character as benevolent as Santa Claus. And I think, Virginia, the real Santa Claus is Yahweh, our beloved Father and God.

Christmas is the celebration of the first gift isn’t it, the gift of a son who is Immanuel, God with us, but also a savior, the perfect, spotless lamb destined to be the sacrifice for a people who were lost and dying. Our Father gave us His own son on what has come to be known as the first Christmas morn. Santa Yahweh gave the most precious gift ever conceived, which we continue to celebrate thousands of years later. He is the jolly gift bringer who still bestows gifts upon His children. His entire being is that of joy and benevolence. He is the perfect image of Santa Claus and more. He is the Christmas Spirit we hear about but fail to recognize.

Enjoy your Christmas, enjoy it as fully as ever you have. Be filled with all that Christmas means. Gaze upon the nativity scene on your table and ponder the miracle of that glorious day. Let Christmas carols warm your heart and when you see images of Santa, grin to yourself because you know the real Santa Claus. You know the original, rather than the imitations. Let the Father, and the season fill you with real Christmas cheer.

Merry Christmas everyone!
Until next year, Happy New Year and Blessings!


Give a Little

Luke 6: 38

Give, and it will be given to you.

Sometimes I believe everything important can be learned from children’s shows. In fact, I am not sure why we don’t express the same life values in adult programming. I found this verse in Santa Claus is Coming to Town. It is the story of the Christmas Spirit, the story of giving.

Santa, Kris Kringle, is confronted by many ornery characters in the story. As he traverses the mountain between Kringle Village and Somber Town, where he intends to deliver toys, he is accosted by a mean wizard known as Winter Warlock. Santa, however, knows how to unlock even the coldest heart, with a gift. The simple act of giving a toy to the evil wizard melts his frozen heart. Winter then becomes good and a lifelong friend and companion of the Kringles.

In town, Santa explains to the children that whatever you wish to get, you must first give. If you want a little love, give a little love. He sings, “Whenever you take, give a little back.” Oh that we actually taught our children this important lesson. Even better, that we should not only be reminded of it ourselves but also embrace the philosophy. The Living Bible rendition of today’s verse is, “For if you give, you will get!” Pretty simple, huh?

Santa wins over Jessica with a gift and later she becomes Mrs. Santa Claus. He built a culture of giving but in his version, people give back. We live in a culture where people take and take. There seems to be little charity among us. We walk by the Salvation Army kettles like they are an annoyance to us rather than allowing ourselves to be motivated to support a group who is doing the work of helping others. This is not our essential nature though. It is not who we are. We are kind and generous in our union with Christ. We just allow the culture and our schedules to poison our attitudes.

So, here is my Christmas wish for you. Go get the collection of old-time Christmas animated classics. Get a big bowl of popcorn and watch them with your loved ones. Listen and watch for the message of Christ and let it melt you. Allow your love and generosity to bob to the surface. Let your tenderness show and let it have its say. I wish for you to receive greatly but I know that you must give if you want to get. Let Jesus fill your heart and bless you abundantly. That is my wish for you, immeasurable abundance of Christ in you and with you. Merry Christmas!