There is an old story about a young woman who greeted her pastor at the door following the worship service at Christmas Eve. Beaming with enthusiasm she said, “Oh Pastor, everything was just so wonderful. I have a real feeling of Christmas. You know just like in the mall.” When you ask most school children what Christmas means to them the resounding answer is, “Getting presents from Santa Claus.”
I am not calling for a ban on Santa or taking all the fun out of Christmas as I can remember my childhood and the excitement of Christmas morning. I do want us to give more focus on God’s great Gift to all of us in sending Jesus to be our savior. I want our children to remember that it is the birthday of Jesus that we are celebrating. I am very concerned that the American, I would even say the world’s celebration of Christmas is out of balance with the jolly old elf of myth taking over. Santa with his bag of toys has become more important than the infant Jesus in the manger. The legend of Santa grew out of a real person, Nicholas who was bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey. He gave special anonymous gifts to people in celebration of the birth of Jesus and the church later declared him a saint for his goodness. Only in America could Saint Nicholas be transformed into an elf who lives at the North Pole and rides a sleigh pulled by reindeer.
I know that preachers all over the country remind the church of this issue every year, but it is a very necessary reminder. Keeping Christmas “CHRIST” centered is our job. The commercial interest spends millions of dollars each year to focus our attention on spending money. The church must speak out for Jesus with a loud voice. Christian parents must help their children understand the real meaning of the birth of Jesus the Christ. So that when someone ask them the question, “What is Christmas?” they can quickly answer, “Jesus’ birthday!”