Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Memory: Santa

When I was one or two years old, my parents tell me that Santa appeared at a family gathering with toys for my cousin and me.

This often happens to children in December, so perhaps it is not the most unique 'memory'-- in quotes because, quite honestly, I do not actually remember it!

None of the adults in the house knew it was going to happen, and no one knew who the man was. He rang the doorbell, presented two toddlers with a truck and a doll, said, "Merry Christmas!" and... away he flew like the down of a thistle.


Now, it may be that one of my aunts or uncles really did set up that magical visit and simply kept mum, but it happened almost forty years ago. The way my family loves a good joke, someone would have given way by now.

When my parents and grandparents tell the story, they always say, "Whoever he was, he knew those babies were in the house, and he had presents just for them."

This, to me, is the spirit of Christmas. I am talking about the spirit that fills us when we realize that the Lord redeemed us-- that he came down to Earth, sacrificed His glory, surrendered His position, became in fashion as a man. To save us. We, who sin, who cannot keep the Law, who are the undone debtors in the debtors' prison, with no friends and no way even to earn our way out. We, who are in need of a Saviour.

When a person realizes that this is his position, and that Jesus has paid all and we are free,that the Year of Jubilee has truly come! we cannot but run through the streets extending that love to our fellows.

This is Christmas. Give! for you have been given much. Imitate your kinsman-Redeemer. Emulate your adoptive Father. Suffer, sacrifice, surrender to the giving.

What an amazing family tree we have been grafted into! We are children of the King.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

This is Christmas. I do not begrudge Santa*. He is a symbol of the beautiful, grateful spirit of a newly realized child of God.

It is lovely to have a time of year in which people are reminded to renew this gratitude and love. It spurs us to go forth into the new year with compassion and joy.

*It is really more to the point to question what we do with the symbol of Santa. We have an obligation to give with wisdom and compassion, not grudgingly and as we purpose in our hearts, but with wisdom. Are we doing that?

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