Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Fat Man In A Red Suit, Flying Around The World In A Sleigh. Hmmmm?

A fat man, in a red suit, flying around the world in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. What a story? Isn't it amazing how creative we can be? Throw in a story of a reindeer whose nose glows, tiny elves who work feverishly to get all the toys done in time, and a list of all the good and bad kiddos in the world and we've got an epic story. Its been told for years and gets tweaked a bit with every generation or so, but never seems to lose much steam.

Every year, this fat man in his red suit, shows up everywhere. He's at the mall, he's on the TV, he's on Christmas cards, he's even on Coca-Cola cans. Everywhere you look, there he is. Just think, wouldn't it have been nice to come up with the idea of this guy and sell the world on it? I'm thinking somehow, someway you could have made some pretty serious bank if you had.

Several years ago, I heard a Christian radio station trying hard to sell the whole idea of Santa as a God thing. Now, I don't have any problem with Santa, but a God idea? I think that's just a bit of a stretch. Sure, he's a nice guy and all and he goes around giving stuff away, still I struggle with the idea of Santa being God inspired.

Let's face it, God needs no help from our imagination to come up with a great story. Let me rephrase that, a miraculous story. While we're conjuring up stories of a fat man in a red suit, he pulls off something that reaffirms the fact that His thoughts are light-years beyond ours. One night in a little town called Bethlehem, God wraps Himself in human flesh in order to rescue mankind. If you know the story, think about it. God, the Creator of the universe, humbles himself, and becomes one of us. He steps out of eternity and steps into time, submits himself to a brutal death at the hands of men He could thump off the planet in a heartbeat. He does all that in order to restore mankind's relationship with Him.

A baby was born that night who would take away the sins of the world. A King was born who would never see an end to his kingdom. A Deliverer was born who would set men free. A Healer was born who would heal the sick. A Savior was born who would save mankind. A Prince was born who would set this world at peace.

Of course, many never truly recognized Him. As a matter of fact, when He showed up that night in Bethlehem, they couldn't even make room for Him. They couldn't make room for God! They were so busy going about doing all the things people do, that when God, Himself showed up, they didn't recognize him, notice him, or even offer him a room to stay in. That night in Bethlehem was all about Him, and yet He went largely unnoticed. As a matter of fact, other than a few shepherds and angels and some wise men studying the stars, nobody even new what happened that night.

We aren't all that different are we? We've got this ongoing ridiculous debate on whether we should say "Happy Holidays," or "Merry Christmas." We've casually become a culture that no longer recognizes what this time of year is all about. We strive to be politically correct while all the while missing the point entirely. We go about doing Christmas in such a way as to forget why we do it in the first place. We love the paid holiday time, retailers love the money, and oil companies love the travel. We love Santa, and Rudolph, and Frosty the Snowman. We love the decorations, the lights, the trees, and everything else that comes with this time of the year. But, if we are not careful, just like Bethlehem that night, we'll miss Him. The One it's all about.

Don't get me wrong, Santa's a great story and all, but it just doesn't measure up to God's true story. I know it may not be politically correct to say, "Merry Christmas," but to be honest, I really don't care about being politically correct. If someone chooses to be offended by that statement, they just don't understand what happened that night in Bethlehem many years ago. Jesus truly is the reason for the season. No amount of commercialization, political debating, or differing religious ideologies can change that fact.

Bethlehem was the birth place of the greatest King ever to be born and that night hardly anyone even knew it. Isn't it ironic. Christmas is about the birth of the greatest King to ever be born, and it appears that there is an ever growing number of people who don't even know it.

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