Summary: A Christmas sermon which looks at some differences between Jesus and Santa.
AM sermon preached at Syria Christian Church December 21, 2003
Looking for Something More?
(Things Santa Can‘t Bring…That Christ Can)
Tradition tells us that the Santa Claus of legend and lore pops in and out of every house on Christmas Eve bringing Christmas gifts to good little boys and girls and leaving lumps of coal for bad little boys and girls. Now when you do some figuring such a feat would be quite an outstanding accomplishment. Let’s see---you give him 24 hours to accomplish the task, that figures out to be 86,400 seconds, you divide that number by the of homes around the world (we’ll say about 1 billion), variable flight time between houses, landing, dismounting and getting down the chimney that’ll give the round jolly guy, if he travels at the speed of light, somewhere around .0000864 seconds per household to deliver the goods. Now we didn’t account for taking time out to eat cookies, drink milk, and give carrots to the reindeer, nor did we factor in wind resistance to the sleigh and a few other minor details. To put it a little more simply ---in the time it takes us to say the name Santa---about one second---Legend requires that on Christmas Eve the red and white dressed elf get in and out of some 11,574 homes. But so it supposedly goes with Santa.
Now, come Christmas morning, there will be a lot of children thrilled over what they believe Santa brought them. There will as well be many children disappointed by what they believe Santa did not bring them. There will be parents glad to have the shopping side of the Santa thing behind them. And there will be parents dreading the arrival of Christmas bills that lay before them. Some people will find next weekend that the holiday season has left them feeling fulfilled and satisfied. And sadly, many others will walk away from it all feeling somewhat empty and disappointed. But the good news is --- fulfillment, satisfaction and contentment are not only within our reach this Christmas, they’re something we can enjoy everyday. If you’re looking for something more---than look to Jesus. For you see, Jesus can bring us things Santa can’t.
For one, Jesus brings us His presence. Whether you’re watching Christmas movies or reading story books, Santa’s appearances and conversations with those he meets on Christmas Eve are short-lived at best. So if you’re looking for an ongoing relationship that is open to the kinds of everyday interaction that takes place between friends, Santa’s not the answer because while Santa may be credited with the delivery of presents (the kind spelled with a “t”) Santa’s not one to give anyone much of his presence. (spelled presence). You usually catch him telling the privileged few who see him on Christmas Eve that he can’t stay and visit because he’s got so much work left to do and so many more homes to visit. Santa doesn’t offer much in the area of friendship.
On the other hand, the Bible tells us that one of the primary reasons Jesus came to the earth was so that God could make His dwelling with men. Listen to the words of Ephesians 2:13-22.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Matthew in his gospel account describes for us how Joseph came to terms with Mary’s pregnancy; it was through an angel’s announcing to him that the child Mary was carrying was the Son of God. And then Matthew after relating those details, added this bit of commentary “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’—which means, ‘God with us.’” (Matthew 1:22-23) From the very creation of man in His image, God’s desire is for us to enjoy His friendship, His presence every moment of everyday in every aspect of our lives now and for eternity. And that presence is readily available to each of us. But friends while God’s presence is readily available to us it’s not automatic. Jesus describes how he stands at the door and knocks. He doesn’t use a battering ram and force his way into our hearts and lives. Think about it, on the day of Christ’s birth there was no room in the inn, but there was room in a manger, so guess where Christ was found? Today there are many people who have not opened their hearts to Christ, and there are many who have---guess in which hearts Jesus lives? Jesus offers us the gift of His presence.