Would you still like Santa if he got drunk every now and then and pushed Mrs. Claus around? What if he had a gambling problem and there were bookies dressed as elves waiting to shake him down? Or how about if he was a compulsive liar and a chain smoker?
You probably wouldn’t wait in line with cranky, sticky children to visit him at the mall.
Santa is only good and perfect because he is a fairy tale. He is a sweet story with no grounding in historical fact. He’s a good guy. He just doesn’t actually exist.
This Christmas, I ask you to take some time and reflect on the real hero of the season. The true magic of Christmas. Jesus. A real baby born in a real manger. A good and perfect (though slightly less fat and jolly ) factual representation of a very real and present God.
At church on Sunday, the pastor made a great point. To say “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words” is like saying “Feed the hungry at all times and if necessary use food.”
The gospel means “good news”. It needs to be told. Men are not saved by our good works and friendliness. They are saved by the good news of Jesus coming to live among the very people who rejected him and dying on the cross in our place.
The truth is our sin will kill us if we let it. Jesus provided a way out for anyone who will take it.
Christmas is the celebration of God With Us : Emmanuel. Salvation for anyone who will come.
Whatever is holding you back from him will only destroy you in the end. Think about it. That relationship that doesn’t honor him, the unwillingness to submit to the one who obviously is greater than we can even imagine, the drugs, the money, the “power”. If it is at odds with God’s good boundaries for his people, there’s a reason. It won’t deliver!
Jesus, a real flesh and blood man embodying the fullness of God, has made known to us God’s goodness, love, justice, and mercy. He was born to die, so that we could have life.
As you wrap your presents and place them under your twinkly tree, think about what’s next. After the gifts and the clean up and the last cookie is eaten, what is coming? Another year full of ups and downs stretches out unknown before you.
Jesus is not just the “reason for the season”. He is the reason we breathe. Literally. Our very life is a gift from God. The sun, the moon, the stars, the ocean, your dog, your cat, your mom, your children. No life exists without God allowing it to. All the beauty in nature is his gift to us. He. Is. Wonderful.
Celebrate Christmas this year by asking Jesus to do for you what he has been waiting to do: Love you. Make you whole. Free you from bondage. Give you hope. Prepare a place for you in heaven. This crazy, magical, powerful story has a great advantage over the Santa thing because it’s true.
Written 600 years before Jesus’s birth by the prophet Isaiah:
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned…
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.