I love surprises and I love when someone remembers something I said in a sermon because it meant something to them. A couple of weeks ago I was given the Santa & Jesus image in the picture. It was given to me by a couple whose wedding I performed two years ago. They remembered a sermon where I talked about the lack of decorations showing the true celebration of Christmas – Jesus birth. In that sermon I used the image of Santa and Jesus that this couple then used as a template for making new yard decor for me.
I think the image is one we need to consider these days. Our Christmas season has become overwhelmed by the “Santa” celebration. The day is more readily declared the time when Santa comes than to say it is the day God came. Even in the church parking lot, following the Live Nativity performance, I heard a parent say the dreaded words – “Santa won’t visit fussy children.” Santa seems to have taken the more prominent role in the holiday (I know this is not news).
The thing is, I don’t dislike Santa. A “saint” who is generous beyond compare who gives toys to boys and girls across the world to me is a good thing. It seems to me God wouldn’t have a problem with Santa either. But that’s why I like this image. Santa isn’t a bad guy, but even Santa knows his place during the holiday. His place is the same as it is for us, same as it was for the shepherds, same as it was for the Magi – kneeling at the manger where Emmanuel, “God with us”, is found lying helpless as a newborn infant.
I think the image is a great sermon. Our Christmas celebrations that focus on gift-giving and parties and decorating our homes should all be done in deference to the One who deserves the greatest honor. As followers of Jesus we should not allow Him to be our second thought this season. Santa’s a nice guy, but he’s not the Savior. Santa can give lots of gifts, but he can’t give life. Even Santa himself knows that.
Jesus – He is the first and the last, he is everything. Celebrate that above all else.
Holy high five to you, Mike