12 December 2011

The Main Character is _ _ _ _ _ ?

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they
shall call
His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
- Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)

Every year I receive more junk email during the Christmas season than any other time of the year. I usually end up going through my inbox and just hitting the delete key, but occasionally there is one email with a catchy title that peaks my interest. This year was no exception. The subject line said, “Why Jesus is better than Santa Claus.”

As I read through the comparison, I began to wonder how people would answer the following question ... Who is the main character in your Christmas celebration?

Take one popular, non-biblical saint, add the influences of many festivals, observances, and traditions, along with fascinating legends, a little mystery, some magical stories, and Saint Nicholas becomes Santa Claus. This is a very simplified description of the process that has spanned many centuries, countries and cultures, but the bottom line is - Santa Claus has come to town.

Santa’s merits include the fact that he is loveable and a bit magical. He is a generous gift giver, who is full of joy. He cares for children and gives them a wonderful sense of hope and anticipation. Families even watch movies together, based on his character. He can be seen everywhere. If he was a real person, you could say that Santa has some positive Christian qualities, but he is a fictitious character.

On the other hand, Jesus is the Son of God, and is beyond anything we can imagine.

He knows all about us – not just whether we’ve been naughty or nice, but also our inner-most thoughts and desires. Jesus also gives us gifts, especially the greatest gift of all ... salvation! And His gift is given to all who believe in Him, not just to those who “deserve” it. Best of all, Jesus is not just a character that is with us for a season ... He is real and He is with us always!

Unfortunately, many people find Santa much more appealing than Jesus.

Because of his popularity, Santa’s negative qualities make up quite a list, too. Santa is worshipped by the retailers, who already try to do what they can to take Christ out of Christmas. Grown-ups and children alike begin to think of Santa as a source for their greatest wishes and wants. They believe the season is all about how much they will be receiving, and this is the exact opposite of what scripture tells us. Christmas is all about God’s gift to us (John 3:16).

Santa offers us a “ho-ho-ho,” but Jesus offers us peace, love, joy and hope!

One of my favorite Christmas figurines is the statue of Santa kneeling next to the manager. There is also a poem I love, entitled Santa’s Prayer on Christmas Eve, by Warren D. Jennings. The poem speaks about Santa’s “to-do” list, but the writer puts everything in to perspective in the last two verses ...

All this is to honor the birth of the One,
That was sent to redeem us, Your most Holy Son.

So to all of my friends, least Your glory I rob,
Please Lord, remind them who gave me this job.

Both the statue and poem give us a glimpse in to the real meaning of Christmas. Yes, Santa comes once a year, but without Jesus we would have no reason to celebrate. As Christians, we don’t need to worry about a jolly old elf, but we do need to make sure that Jesus remains our real “Reason for the Season.”

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, let us “shine” the light of Christ for all to see.

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

Click here to read the entire poem Santa's Prayer on Christmas Eve: http://washingtonmo.com/christmas/xmaseve.htm

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