Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Santa Claus

My youngest daughter is terrified of Santa. She was scared when we saw him at the mall, and then when he made an appearance at a recent Christmas party she was petrified. She sat on her uncle’s lap, held his arms for dear life, and as she was shaking she buried her head into his chest and tried to disappear hoping Santa wouldn’t notice her. We finally had to whisper to her that it was just her grandpa dressed up like Santa and that there was nothing to worry about. When I thought about it later it occurred to me just how strange a thing this character has become. In any other context a big fat hairy stranger who invites children onto his lap with the promise of special presents would in no way be something we would teach our children to embrace. But this time of year Jolly Old St. Nick, can actually be kind of fun - just not to my daughter. My older three children don’t believe in Santa either. When we were adopting our oldest two children (who were 8 and 5 at the time) we recognized how important honesty and trust were going to be as we forged our new relationships. We also knew that they were getting to the age that they might here the truth about Santa and thought that it would be best to hear it from us. We made the decision to tell them, and our other son (who was three), about Santa. We told them that Santa was not a real person, but rather a character much like Buzz Lightyear. We were surprised by the reaction as our youngest son exclaimed “What?!?...Buzz Lightyear is not real!!!” And that was that. For one reason or another it seems that Santa hasn’t played a huge role in our family’s Christmas celebrations. Santa is everywhere this time of year, and we don’t hide from it or react against it, but when it comes to the way we celebrate at home, once again, for the sake of my youngest daughters sanity, he will play a very small role. It is a good thing that Santa is not really the heart if this yearly celebration; if he were then we would have a lot to miss out on. On the contrary, I think that our situation has actually helped us to focus on the true meaning of the season. After all, Christmas is about the coming of our Lord and King in the form of a baby. It is about Immanuel - God with us. It is about the incarnation. It is about Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-8)

Although a jolly, plump fellow with a big sack of gifts can be fun, the greatest gift of all still remains the gift of Jesus. I put some thoughts down in a song a few years ago so I thought I might share them with you today. Here is a link to a rough cut demo of The Greatest Gift of All, and the lyrics below.

The Greatest Gift of All

They say that wise men still seek Him
They still call on His name
And when they seek they still find Him
What am I looking for? What am I looking for?

The greatest gift of all, still answers when I call
The greatest gift of all is You, is You
The greatest gift of all, came wrapped in swaddling cloth
The greatest gift of all is You, is You
Jesus Jesus

They say the humble still seek Him
The One who so humbly came
His example to follow
What am I looking for? What am I looking for?

The Christmas feeling is so elusive, no one ever has defined it
If I don’t know what I’m looking for
How will I ever find it? How will I ever find it?

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