There are so many things about the Christmas season that I enjoy. Looking at Christmas lights on the houses in my neighborhood, sledding at night with my friends, hot chocolate after shoveling… yes, I even enjoy shoveling.
I enjoy Christmas Day for many reasons. When I was a child I was so excited about the process of opening presents. I loved to have all my cousins, aunts, and uncles in my grandparent’s family room sitting in a big circle, one by one opening our presents from each other. Most of all, I loved to sit with my presents in my lap, staring at the pretty paper and bows, wondering what surprise could possibly be inside.
Santa Clause Is Coming to Town…
Now that I am nineteen years old, the gift opening process has lost some of its magic. I can’t decide if this is because I don’t have a list of thirty-five different toys I want, or because I don’t open toys that my cousins and I sit and play with on the floor together all day, or some other unknown reason. I have found more joy in watching my young cousins faces when they open their presents. I can’t help but wonder if my parents watched my face like that.
Just in case you don’t know what face I’m talking about, here’s a photo of me circa 2004.
So why don’t I feel the same way? Maybe it’s because I no longer believe in the magic of Santa Claus. I know that when I open presents on Christmas morning they’re from my parents, some of them were even bought in my presence and I know exactly what they are. This doesn’t ruin the quality of the gift, but it takes away some of the magic of opening the package.
I promise this point connects to Jesus, just wait for it.
He’s making a list, checking it twice…
Think about a child’s connection to Santa Claus. He comes once a year. He is never seen or heard on Christmas Eve (unless your parents tried really hard to keep your belief alive as long as they could). And he gives kids presents one day a year. If you ever talk to a child about Santa, their face lights up talking about his jolly smile, full belly, and giant beard. A child will hold onto their belief in Santa for as long as they can, denying any evidence against their belief. I still remember the moment that I found out that Santa was my parents.
I strive to believe in God with the amount of joy, anticipation, and excitement that a child has with their belief in Santa.
Santa comes once a year. God is in my life every second, every minute, every hour, every day, of every year. Beyond my comprehension of time. Santa is (almost) never seen or heard. God can be seen and heard in every aspect of my life. From the delicate falling snow, to a phone call from my friend, to someone in front of me in the drive thru paying for my food. Santa gives presents to children one day a year. God gives us little blessings in the everyday mundane tasks if we would simply open our eyes and see.
Besides the everyday gifts that God wants to give us, God gave us the greatest gift He could possibly offer us 2000 years ago. A gift to top all other gifts. His only son. And unlike Santa, God doesn’t make a list and check it twice before He offers this gift to us.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him will never perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).”
Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice…
We don’t have to pay $12.99 plus shipping and handling. We don’t have to wait in a 45 minute line to check out. We don’t have to clean ourselves up and refrain from “crying or pouting” to earn this gift. We don’t even have to go on a scavenger hunt to find the gift. It’s right in front of us. God wants to give us the gift of His Son simply because He loves us.
I hope this time of the year you experience the peace of God and enjoy the little gifts He gives you. I hope beyond all these other desires for you, though, that you would choose to accept the gift that is Jesus – the greatest present the world has ever received.