Santa Claus . . . the name alone brings a smile to most all of our faces. Think back for just a moment to the days leading up to Christmas morning when you were six years old. Think of all you believed to be true about Santa Claus. Of all the things that you once believed about him, what seems the most ridiculous to you now? What “fact” about the legend of Santa do you now find most unbelievable?
For some of you, Santa’s mass production of toys and gifts might seem most ridiculous. I mean, elves as employees making everything from Star Wars action figures to Sponge Bob socks to Strawberry Shortcake sleeping bags is a little hard to fathom . . . especially all in one giant production facility located somewhere near the North Pole! For others of you, Santa’s mode of transportation might seem most unbelievable. As if flying reindeer were not hard enough to stomach, we were also supposed to believe that an open air sled pulled by nine herbivores could somehow traverse the globe in one twelve hour night! Even taking into account the rotation of the earth and the time change, this is a little hard to imagine to our adult minds. Surely many of you thought of these items as you pondered the existence of Kris Kringle. But as amazing as these things are, they still are not the most amazing thing to me about Santa.
For my money, the most unbelievable thing about Santa Claus is not his generosity, or his production capability, or his mode of transportation, or his appearance, or his schedule. What amazes me most about Santa is that he would actually come and visit me. He would take my requests, come to my house, slide down my chimney, eat my cookies, drink my milk, and give me presents. That is what is most amazing to me about Santa Claus. In my mind’s eye, I can imagine someone so generous. I can imagine someone so inventive. But I cannot imagine THAT someone caring about so many others . . . including me. If for no other reason, that fact alone causes my adult mind to rightly question the existence of Santa Claus, and the facts bear this out.
Now, switch from Christmas myth, to Christmas Messiah. For a moment, think about the historical account of Jesus, the Son of God coming into the world. What is it about this story that you find most amazing? For some of you, maybe you marvel at the humility it takes for God to take on the limitations of a human body. For others of you, maybe you are astounded that this same God would be born into a barn, instead of a castle. Still, for others, maybe you are awestruck by the fact that the Son of God would be born into a human family.
For my money, though, the most awesome thing about the birth of Jesus Christ is that He was born because He cared about me. He understood my separation from God because of my sin, so He came to my planet, lived my kind of life, endured my kind of temptation, felt my kind of pain, and died in my place, to give me the unbelievable yet believable gift of eternal life! That is what stops me in my tracks as I ponder the Christmas holiday.
In my mind’s eye, I can imagine a God so generous. I can imagine a God so gracious. I can imagine a God so good. But I am awe struck that this God would apply those truths to specific sinful people . . . including me. Some have taken this truth, processed it through their “adult” minds of intellect and reason and concluded that, like Santa Claus, such a Jesus cannot exist . . . however, the facts do not bear this out. Jesus is real. He is alive. He was born into this world, and He died to rescue us out of it! This Christmas as you ponder the awesome events of the baby in the manger, remind yourself of this fact . . . He came for you.
“From His (Jesus) fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)