And while I’m not sure, exactly, what they “don’t get,” I do feel the true significance of the Holiday – the birth of Christ --does become lost in all the other activities and distractions taking place this time of year. Parties, shopping, wrapping gifts, sending Holiday cards, and so much more can be exhausting and even a bit overwhelming.
Take Santa, for example. The presence of Santa Claus has, in many ways, become the symbol of the Holiday season. He’s everywhere. On the street corner, in the mall, having his picture taken with pets, regaled in Christmas carols, featured on television ads… You name it, and Santa is somewhere nearby. And that’s fine. He is, after all, a Saint.
Saint Nicholas (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. Saint Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers and students in various cities and countries.
As a result, millions of people load their children in the car and head for the mall so the little ones can sit on Santa’s lap and confirm their order face-to-face. It really is a wonderful tradition enjoyed by young and old alike as they await Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve with presents for the next morning.
So now we’re up to Christmas Day and still no real emphasis on “The Reason for the Season.” Yes, Santa is important and, yet, I’ve never seen a colorful wrist band imprinted with “WWSD.” Santa has roughly a two-month opportunity to bring joy and happiness to the world when we seek him out, while Christ is by our side every moment of our lives, guiding us and caring for us every step of the way.
And so, during this Holiday season, when you’re seeking toys, games, clothing, decorations and jewelry, gather your family together and head for the mall. And when you’re seeking the greatest gift of all, gather your family together and head for church.
How about that.