2005-12-19 - The Santa and Savior of Advent
As Christmas draws closer, let's think about Christ - the figure at the center of the season...
I liked when Santa came to my house last year; Jordan knew by the gifts he received that the big guy loved him, and that made me feel pretty good. He even brought some hope, joy, and peace with him. But I'm looking forward to his return this year as well. I think my son actually plays with most of what he got last year, but if this year we just celebrated by remembering what Santa did in the past, I don't think things would be as great. We look forward to Santa's return with better things. In the same way, this year we celebrate that Christ came 2000 years ago, but we also celebrate when he will come again. The fifth and final candle of an advent wreath, if used, is the Christ candle. This candle is lit in honor of his first coming and in expectation of his second coming. He defeated the enemy the first time, but will accept his surrender the second time. He bought us in the first coming and picks us up on his second trip.
If playing Santa has left you tired or feeling empty, look up - look past the rooftop reindeer, look up to the stars where once one shined bright to announce a birth and remember there's a Savior in Christmas still. I don't remember where I read it but I once read, "He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree." If you want true joy this season, if you want to taste unshakeable peace, if you want to be filled with hope, if you want to experience pure love you won't find it in a man coming down your home's chimney - but you will find it in a man knocking at your heart's door. Sit and reflect on what filled St. Nicholas, the bishop that became Santa Claus.
And be a Santa but be a saintly Santa for the Savior by giving to him. As you go about making your list and checking it twice, write Jesus at the top and give a gift to him. The greatest gift we can give him is our own surrendered life. After all, no matter what we've made of our life; it was worth dying for to him. But after that, we can continue to give to him.
Matthew 25:34-40 (NET) Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40 And the king will answer them, 'I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.'
May the Christ of Christmas be the Christ in your heart and life in this season and all seasons.