That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lordâ€™s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. â€œDonâ€™t be afraid!â€ he said. â€œI bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Saviorâ€”yes, the Messiah, the Lordâ€”has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.â€ Â Â Â Â Luke 2:8-12 (NLT)
â€œJesus is the Reason for the Seasonâ€ has gone from a jingle to a battle cry in recent Christmases. I am going to step firmly on some toes and suggest that we stop shouting and shaking our fists and
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…. Â Â 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV, emphasis mine)
Do we shout and shake our fists at our children? Are they not the ones we (as Christians) are trying to â€œprotectâ€ from Santa Claus? Let’s try teaching them like a disciple of Jesus Christ would.
Jesus came and who He was drew children to Him like â€“ a cute puppy or kitten just makes a child have to come over and touch.
I bet it was His eyes. We know that it is impossible for us to grasp the full extent of God’s love so I bet that love just flowed out of Jesus’ eyes. Children zero in on the eyes of people they meet. Have you ever had an infant look you straight in the eye and smile? People say â€œit’s gasâ€. I don’t believe it. They do not have the verbal skills to communicate so they connect with their eyes and indicate their approval or disapproval with a smile because what is the first expression an infant learns but a smile from their parents, grandparents… everyone who sees that infant has a smile!
His hands. I see them as the hands of a carpenter that are broad of palm, rough and callused, and yet so light and gentle of touch. A child knows love through the touch that is given to them.
His attention. I can easily see and comprehend how finite was Jesus’ time on earth to do what He was tasked to do. He shows me that time here is limited. And Jesus gave 100% of His attention, His life to hear the Father and do and speak what He was given â€“ not one syllable more or less. So when His attention was turned to someone â€“ they got 100% of His attention. Children respond to focused attention. If I give my child a â€œyeah, uh-huh, whateverâ€ as a response to their cry for my attention, their response will either be rejection and despair or anger and destruction. But if I give them 100%, the response will be more positive and constructive.
Let us teach (educate, show) our children about Jesus. Let us read to them His stories (like they have read stories of Santa). Let us share personal stories of what Jesus has brought into our lives (like we would share stories of Santa’s gifts). May they ask us â€œIs Jesus real?â€ like they have asked about Santa.
Santa is said to be the evolution of St. Nicholas, a 3rd century bishop who may have wore a red robe and mitre (pointed hat) and gave to the poor. Could I be â€œSantaâ€ or â€œSt. Nicholasâ€? If I am a disciple of Jesus and serve His children, giving without repayment, maybe even â€œsurpriseâ€ presents, then yes, I could be a Santa. But even more, I can show how Jesus taught us all to give and serve not just around December 25th but the other 364 days of the year also. Who doesn’t like to receive an unexpected blessing any and every day??!!
Thank you to my sister-in-law for sharing this song with me several weeks ago. The author/singer received the inspiration through â€“ who else? â€“ but a child.