I just watched the remake of the movie "Miracle on 34th Street" for the upteenth time. Each time I view it, I find myself smiling just like a little kid! If you've never had the opportunity to watch it ...I highly recommend it. Kris Kringle is on trial. He claims that he's really Santa Claus but he doesn't have evidence. You must have faith to believe.
I began to think about Santa. I remember as a child getting so excited about Christmas. I wanted to be sure that I was good so I would get presents under the tree.
My dad dressed up as Santa Claus and he sure fooled me. This is an old black and white picture and the little girl is me and Santa is my dad. Little did I know!
But I was also taught that Christmas was the day we celebrated Jesus' birth.
So, how do you reconcile Santa Claus and Jesus?
I have a book called "The Adventure of Christmas". It was written by Lisa Whelchel for moms to help them teach their children about Christmas. It really focuses on helping the children find Jesus in those traditions.
Since I learn best as a child, I unpack this book every year and reread it. I mentioned it in a previous blog post. I'm glad that one of the chapters Lisa covers is about Santa Claus.
Lisa told the true story of a young man name Nicholas who lived about the time of the third century in what is now modern day Turkey. He loved God very much. His family was quite wealthy and when Nicholas received his inheritance, he began to give it away to the poor and needy people. He would often give the gifts secretly and ...he especially enjoyed giving to children.
You'll have to read the rest of the story for yourself, but hundreds of years later, Nicholas was declared Saint Nicholas. It was pronounced Sinter Klaas by the Dutch. Another word used to refer to him was Kris Kringle which comes from the Dutch word 'Christkinkl', meaning "Christ child". The name was originally created to help refocus people's attention on Jesus ...who is the true gift giver.
So, what does Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas and Kris Kringle tell us? Although Nicholas gave gifts, God is the best gift giver of all.
God has such a loving giving heart that He chose to send His only Son into this world to save us.
Jesus is the real gift of Christmas. But in order to receive this gift, we must choose to appropriate it for ourselves. Otherwise, it's just another gift we hear about but never experience for ourselves.
May you experience the true meaning of Christmas this year!