Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Savior not Santa...

Ok, before you totally tie me to the stake hear me out please.
I have a flip through calendar by Charles Swindoll that I absolutely love. I bought it for a whopping $1 at a garage sale almost 4 years ago. We flip through it every year like we've never read it before. It is called "The Grace of Encouragement" in case you are wondering. It is small excerpts from a number of his books with the page number and a scripture to support the quote.
Today's (the 23rd), says this:

It's important that we rivet into our heads exactly what we're celebrating. It is our Savior's arrival, not Santa's.

When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

Galatians 4:4-5 NIV

The excerpt from his book "Come Before Winter" really gets me. Especially...It is our Savior's arrival, not Santa's.

I won't be getting all holier than thou on you. I am just gonna share my view with you. I used to, with our older kids, really build up the Santa thing...."X more days until Santa comes", "oh, Santa's coming...you'd better be good, He's watching"..."oh, Santa's coming soon...better make your list"..Santa, Santa, Santa (in the whiny Marsha, Marsha, Marsha cry) Anyhow, you get the picture.

I remember having the talk with my two older children...letting them know there was in fact no Santa Claus. Y'all it was not fun. The tears that my daughter cried broke my heart...all because of a facade that is supposed to be fun and lighthearted. I knew then that it just didn't feel right. I mean really...wasn't I basically lying to my children, causing them to believe in something they couldn't see and even trusting that we "knew" him. I struggle with that somehow interfering in their walk with Christ. I don't want that scenario ever to play out for them....Mom said Santa was real too...we couldn't see him either. Trusting that their requests were heard by mailing a letter to the North Pole and then expecting them to understand that their prayers are heard...all the time.

So, with our second wind of children...things are different. I don't feel like that is the best direction for us or them. Perhaps I am more spiritually mature...I pray I am anyway, although I am nowhere near I'd like to be. I hardly ever speak about Santa. Our extended family does quite a bit...but we don't really. We speak about Jesus, his birthday, his life. Sure Hope knows who Santa is and that he is supposed to bring her a gift if she is good (not told to her by me though). I just don't want the commercialism of Christmas to steal the reason for Christmas in the first place and replace HIM with a jolly old man in red suit. Sure, I see similarities in Jesus and Santa...the red suit, always watching you, bringing you a gift, or what not. But I see a lot more of Satan than Santa when it comes to greed, over spending, family quarrels, arguments about finances, lack of thankfulness, houses divided because of stress during the holiday. Well, you know what I mean.
While things are changing here in our own home with new traditions and the direction we are leading our children I am so excited about celebrating Jesus' Birthday with them. And no, I don't feel like I am cheating our youngest children out of the childhood fantasy of Santa...I feel like I have cheated our older two out of truly understanding and knowing from the start the real reason for Christmas. And keeping the focus on the baby in the manger and not jolly 'ole St. Nick.

Sure Santa will be coming and bringing a gift..but it is more the condiment instead of the main dish in our meal. Next year I plan on giving three gifts to each of our children as a new Christmas tradition.
We'll let that be symbolic of the three wise men bringing the three gifts for baby Jesus. I first read about it on Angie's blog (Bring the Rain) and loved the idea.

I found this comparison of Christ and Santa. I liked it and so I thought I'd pass it on to you :)

Santa lives at the North Pole... Jesus is everywhere.


Santa rides in a sleigh... Jesus walks on water.


Santa comes but once a year... Jesus is an ever present help.


Santa fills your stockings with goodies... Jesus supplies all of your needs.


Santa comes down your chimney uninvited... Jesus stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.


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 doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi, little boy or little girl..." Jesus knew your name before you did. He knows your history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on your head.


Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly... Jesus has a heart full of love.


All Santa can offer is "HO, HO, HO..." Jesus offers help, hope and eternal life.


Santa says, "You better not cry..." Jesus says, "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."


Santa's little helpers make toys... Jesus makes lives new, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.


Santa may make you chuckle... but Jesus gives you joy that is your strength.


While Santa puts gifts under your tree... Jesus became our gift and died on a tree, and through His resurrection, wants to set you free!

1 comment:

Angie Miller said...

Amen!