A SANCTIFIED SANTA??

By Genelle Tennant

Okay, I'll admit it! I'm into the Santa Claus thing! And I'm a saved, sanctified, baptized, love the Lord Christian. Contradictory? I think not. To all those "Scrooges" who say "Bah Humbug" to Santa, I say, why don't we look at the possibilities of this traditional theme, and see how we could turn it into an instrument of God's love.

The Santa idea is fun, and I don't think God would deny us a little Holiday fun. First of all, let's look at the author of the poem which represents the image of our Santa here in the United States, Clement Clark Moore. Did you know that among his other pursuits he was a Biblical Scholar? He obviously didn't believe that this jovial little emblem of a cheery, generous, gift giving personage would forever taint the spiritual welfare of his children, because the poem itself was a gift from Mr. Moore to his own children on Christmas Eve.

Then there's Jack Hayford, a prominent minister and teacher of the Word, who once said, "Santa himself is a case study in how we can use cultural traditions to serve spiritual objectives. Whatever arguments are mustered against a commercialized Christmas centered in a secular Santa, I still like the old guy." He told about Santa being "converted" to serve his family's priorities, which never diverted from Jesus, the central figure of the Christmas celebration, and that the silly fun of Santa was never in the same league as the family's devotion and worship around the glorious fact that "unto us a Savior was born, who is Christ the Lord."

For those who would rebel against the idea of even celebrating Christmas because with it comes commercialism and hype, (and sadly this is true) we might do better to embrace the season with full hearts and an intent to spread joy, love, and good will all around us. Instead of trampling down traditions, we can make the most of it with joyous celebration, looking ever to the opportunities to reach out to a lost world. Knowing that those who are lost feel their loneliness and hopelessness more deeply at this time of year, we can be charitable as our Saviour wants us to be, showing the love that He came to display when He was born to save the world.

Perhaps the guy in the red suit embodies the world's need for a "Father" ... the one true Father, of course, is our Father in heaven, and those who are lost may be more aware of that need during our Holiday festivities, with the symbolism of the man who brings good cheer and gifts to fulfill their longings. The idea just might open up hard hearts so they can be reached with the love of the Real Father Christmas, The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Christ Child become Man and the Lamb who was sacrificed for us!

Now, just for fun, here are a few names for "Santa" from around the world, just to add a little cultural interest to the "old guy" as Bro. Hayford called him.

Russia: Grandfather Frost - and Babouschka

Mexico: Pancho Navidad

Germany: Christkindl and Weihnachtsmann

Poland: Star Man

Scandinavia: Julenisse

Finland: Joulupkki

England: Father Christmas

Italy: La Befana

Switzerland: Sammichlaus

Sweden: Jultomtar

France: Pere Noel

Netherlands: Sinter Klaas

And there are many others, too numerous to mention. But you see that "Santa" shows up around the world. So there's just no getting away from some traditions. And I for one, will go on having fun with my family with the lighter side of the season, while remembering the True Meaning of Christmas, and that is for us, one of great joy, because the Great Gift Giver gave His only Son to be born among us and partake of our humanity and become the first born of many in the Kingdom of God! And that is the Real Reason for the Season!

God Bless You and Have a Very Merry Christmas!
Love to All in Jesus' Name!
Genelle

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