Summary: Embrace Jesus as your eternal God, eternal Guardian, eternal Guide, and find eternal grace.
Over the years, Saint Nicholas has undergone quite a transformation. Originally, according to tradition, he was a 4th Century bishop of Myra in what is today called Turkey. As a man concerned for the poor, he was always giving little gifts to the poor children in town.
In the Middle Ages, his relics were stolen from Myra and taken to Bari, Italy. There, in the early 1700’s, wives wishing to get rid of their husbands used vials of poison with this inscription: “Manna of Saint Nicholas of Bari.” Guys, if you see a vial under the Christmas tree this Christmas, be very careful. Your wife may be reviving an old tradition.
Later, the English in colonial New York adopted Saint Nicholas from the Dutch, calling him Santa Claus. They also moved Saint Nicholas’ feast day from December 6 to the English gift holiday – December 25.
Clement Moore forever changed our view of Saint Nicholas when he wrote The Night Before Christmas and read it to his family on Christmas Eve in 1822. That’s when the once slender saint grew fat and jolly as we know him today.
Saint Nicholas has gone through so many changes that about 40 years ago, the Catholic Church removed his name from their list of saints along with about 40 others. These were saints that got their standing more through legend than truth, and the Vatican wanted to (quote) “set the record straight.” (Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, #5145)
Well, let me “set the record straight” this morning. While Santa Clause is a wonderful fantasy for our children to enjoy at Christmastime, he is nothing compared to the One that Christmas truly is all about.
Father Christmas must bow before the Father of Eternity, because the Father of Eternity never changes. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Therefore, you can always count on Him. He won’t give you gifts one day and poison you the next.
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father…
Literally, the “Father of (or the one who produces) eternity. You see, Jesus originated time and eternity. He created it, and He controls it forever. So go ahead and ENJOY Santa Clause with your children and grandchildren this Christmas, but…
EMBRACE CHRIST, AND CHRIST ALONE, AS YOUR ETERNAL GOD.
Make the Father of Eternity the focus of your family celebrations and the center of your time on this earth. Grab a hold of Jesus, who is not bound by time or its limitations, and don’t let Him go!
Hebrews 1:1-2 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things – i.e., God put Jesus in charge of everything – and through whom he made the universe – literally, through whom he made the AGES.
Jesus Himself created time. He made the ages as we know them today. That means that He is also the controller of time, as well. He is not trapped in it like we are. Time does not have a hold on Jesus. Rather, Jesus has a hold on time. The psalmist said, “My times are in your hands” (Psalm 31:15).
(illus.) There is an old Chinese legend about an old man in China who raised horses for a living. When one of his prize stallions ran away, his friend gathered at his home to mourn his great loss. After they had expressed their concern, the man raised the question, “How do I know whether what happened is bad or good?
A couple of days later, the runaway horse returned with several strays following close behind. The same friends came to his house again – this time to celebrate his good fortune. The old man asked them, “But how do I know whether it’s good or bad?”
That very afternoon, the horse kicked the owner’s son and broke the young man’s leg. Once more, the old man’s friends gathered now to express their sorrow over the incident. And the father asked again, “But how do I know if this is bad or good?”
Only a few days later, war broke out, but the man’s son was exempted from military service because of his broken leg. And you guessed it, the man’s friends gathered again…