In department stores all over town there are signs hanging everywhere reminding you it’s Christmas time, advertisements suck you in to buying this or that, all in the name of Christmas. You get drawn in by all the sparkles, pretty colors and the holiday specials. Of course we all know that Christmas is really about Jesus and His gift to us, but that gift tends to fade in all the glittering lights of the over-decorated stores. Adults get caught up in shopping and children get caught up in what Santa is going to bring them. This leads to the question:
What if Jesus was like Santa?
What if all we had to do was make Him a list of everything we wanted, then wait eagerly for it to arrive Christmas morning? Maybe leave Him a few cookies and milk as a thank you, but that would be it. No more Jesus until we wanted something else. Like Santa’s bottomless bag of toys, Jesus would grant our every want and desire according to the list we sent Him. And Jesus would always give us what we asked for; we would never have any doubts about that.
Unfortunately, for some people this distorted version of Jesus is not that far off from the Jesus they serve, or rather the Jesus that serves them. Their fabricated ‘Jesus’ is more like a fairy godmother, someone who appears only when they need something, and is not unlike children who think only of Santa at Christmas when they’re waiting for him to deliver their presents.
Like kids who think they earned their gifts from Santa because they weren’t naughty is also similar to the belief of some so-called Christians who think they deserve heaven because they’ve been good or because their ‘nice’ outweighs the ‘naughty.’ Yet the Bible clearly says it’s nothing we do that grants us favor with God; it’s not works that save anyone; no one is good enough to be called righteous, no, not one. However, those false converts are not to be deterred, their ‘Santa-ized’ version of God’s Son dilutes God’s judgment, replacing it with the sparkly, glittery, warm-fuzzy, “unconditional love” God has for everyone.
I guess they missed all the verses about how much wrath God has for sinners.
You see, Santa is seen as the epitome of everything good and pure.
Jesus is everything good and pure. Even His holy wrath is pure, perfect, and totally deserved by every sinner.
Let’s do some more comparisons:
Santa works based off a list we send him. Jesus already knows our most coveted desires before we even know ourselves.
Santa gives us what we want. Jesus gives us what we need.
Santa instills no fear in the heart of anyone. Jesus is to be feared.
Santa is a magical fantasy, one that is shattered with the realization that he is just that- a fantasy. Knowing Jesus, on the other hand, is often magical, but He is not an illusion. However, you do have to be on guard for the lies that say Jesus is also only a product of someone’s amazing imagination. But once you’ve experienced Jesus’ power you’ll have no doubts of His realness.
Beginning right after Thanksgiving, parents take their kids to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want, yet hardly any parents teach their children that God wants them to crawl up on His lap and talk to Him. But even that produces the thought of another good thing, on the endless list of good things, about Jesus; we don’t have to wait all year to send Him a letter in the mail or go visit Him at the mall, because we have a direct line of communication with the Father and the Son that is open 24/7 and is faster than email could ever hope to be. Prayer.
No, Jesus is not like the boisterous, Jolly St. Nick we so often see around town this time of year, but Jesus should be seen as approachable as Santa. He did, after all, give His life for us. The least we can do is boldly approach Him with our gratitude.
So the next time you’re out rushing around the glitzy department stores for gifts, remember there is one gift no man can manufacture; the gift of Jesus. And Jesus is oh, so much better than the fantasy of Santa Clause. Jesus is real, alive, and longs to be the focus of our lives.