I was 30 years old when I first REALLY became a Christian.
I grew up in the church as a child and THOUGHT I was a Christian but never really embraced a PERSONAL JESUS until long into adulthood. By that time I was living the results of lots of bad life choices. When I heard the message of true salvation for the first time, I JUMPED, with my whole life, into God’s arms. I was a young wife and mommy and marveled as God saved my marriage and turned my life around in a matter of months. One of the “turn arounds” was surrounding myself with new Christian girl-friends. I clearly remember the day one of those friends came to my home for a Christmas party and was horrified to find my home full of “Santas” and my plans for his visit on Christmas Eve. My friend passionately explained to me how Santa had hijacked Christmas from Jesus and how I must NOT allow him in my new Christian home.I was very confused and sad. Santa had never been JESUS to me so I was very distraught over how he could be so BAD 🙁 I felt guilty and a like bit of a heretic each Christmas for a few years after that for allowing that scoundrel Santa into my home and holidays.
As I grew in spiritual maturity and began to grasp RELATIONSHIP over RELIGION, I was able to understand how to separate for myself and clarify for my children, that JESUS IS the Reason for the Season!
TO ME, Santa is just kid fun.
There is a HUGE difference.
Last weekend my Pastor, Craig Altman at Grace Family Church in Tampa, did a wonderful job providing some thoughts and tools that I would have loved to have all those years ago to help untangle my heart, articulate my hope and help my friend see my perspective. I know that even today, not everyone agrees.
I share his outline with you with a few thoughts that came to me as he spoke in parenthesis.
1. Santa slides down the chimney…Jesus walks on water.
“25Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear. 27But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’”
Matthew 14:25-27 NIV
2. Santa lives at the North Pole ..Jesus LIVES in the hearts of those who choose Him and is EVERYWHERE ALWAYS. He never ever leaves us or forsakes us.
“I am with you always, even to the ends of the earth”. Matt 28:8 NIV
“19That power is the same as the mighty strength 20he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 1:19b-20 NIV
3. Santa’s helpers are little elves...Jesus’ helpers are mighty angels .
“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”
Matthew 26:53 NIV
4. Santa wears a big red suit and has eyes that twinkle...Jesus has eyes that blaze like fire.
“13and among the lamp stands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”
Revelations 1:13-16 NIV
5. We sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what we want…Jesus said deny yourselves (take up your cross) come and follow me.
“23Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.’” Luke 9:23-24 NIV
6. Santa comes to town ONCE every year–Jesus came the first time as Savior, the next time He physically returns, He will return as Judge.
“‘Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.’”
Matthew 24:30 NIV
“31When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”
Matthew 25:31-32 NIV
7. Santa is “making a list–checking it twice” and gives “if you’ve been good”…Jesus offers a gift to those who haven’t been good and can never be “good enough”!
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 NIV
“8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
If you would like to have a PDF copy of Pastor Craig’s notes, leave a COMMENT below and I will send it to you.
Merry Christmas Friends,