2006-12-22 - What Can We Learn from Santa Claus?
At this time of year, it really is true - as Ray Stephens sang of Santa Claus in a popular song some years ago - "he's everywhere! He's everywhere!" There are chocolate Santas, inflatable giant Santas; surfing Santas (I have one of those on my palm tree); aviator Santas - you name it. It all started "once upon a time" in the 4th Century. A church bishop named St. Nicholas went around giving gifts to the poor around him - becoming the original "St. Nick."
Likeso, the mythical Santa / St. Nicholas / St. Nick gives presents to children around the world - in a spirit of generosity. It's really true isn't it - that Christmas often brings out the generous spirit in many people. Santa is a poignant reminder of God's instsructions (via Christ, Paul and others) to live generously. We should follow Charles Dickens' example when he wrote, "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
In addition, we can learn that there are no secrets. Someone really is watching to see if we are "naughty or nice." No it's not Santa; but God is watching us 24/7. God is literally presenst with us everywhere. Everytime someone goes into a pornographic movie - God is there. If we go into a bar and drink until we are inebriated - God is there. If we make a dirty joke or a racist one - God is there listening. If someone is robbing, robbing, beating or killing someone - God is there. He knows all and sees all. We should never go anywhere that we don't want God to go with us - or do anything we'd be ashamed or frightened for Him to observe. For there are no secrets from God.
And really - the world is watching, as well. Children learn more from what we do than what we say. Whether we like it or not - we are all role models for some of the people in our worlds. Everything we do and say should reflect our heritage as precious children of God. As the cliche reminds us "you may be the only Bible someone ever reads."
And we are reminded by the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (by Johnny Marks) that God has a purpose for everyone - and that we should not mock or dimiss people because of their appearance. We should never disparage one of God's precious children because of their weight, color, birthmark, big nose - or anything else. When we mock anyone - we are mocking someone Christ gave His life for. Much of this world (at least in the US) is obssessed with appearance - thus the proliferation of liposuction, facelifts and eating disorders. But God doesn't look at it the way the world does:
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7 NASB)
Santa Clause is mythical - but he has much to teach us.
Comments or Questions?