Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Christmas?
As Santa I get asked this question probably more than any other — by young and old alike. What do you think? Why do you believe we celebrate Christmas? Is it simply a time to get Christmas gifts, have a party, or get some time off from school? Yes, indeed, Christmas is an amazing time of family, fun, celebrations, and gift giving. For others though, it may be a time of loneliness or even “holiday stress." However, that doesn’t answer the question of why we actually celebrate Christmas? Unfortunately, it’s truly impossible to understand the why we celebrate Christmas without a bit of a faith, grace, and even a history lesson. Yes, the story of Christmas goes back to the beginning of our era, to the birth of a baby, named Jesus, who was born in either a stable, or a cave over two thousand years ago. Thousands of little ones are being born every single day, all over the world. But, how many of them have had hundreds, if not thousands of years of stories told about them before they were even born — stories about how they would be born, live, and even die? Yes, Jesus was more than just a special person. We should begin to understand because more than twenty centuries later, his birth is still celebrated around the world. Christians, such as myself, Santa Claus, believe that God sent the world both a teacher and a Savior. You see, in a sense, God has his own naughty and nice list. And for those who believe, Jesus is the doorway to the ultimate nice list. You See, Jesus is More than a Special Person?
Yes, indeed, the life of Jesus Christ was remarkable! During His life multitudes of predictions from the ancient Jewish Bible were fulfilled, starting with the place of birth: Bethlehem in Israel. Jesus Christ was born of God’s Holy Spirit and a human mother, by the name of Mary. He was human, but also, at the same time, God Himself. This is why He is also called God’s Son. His arrival was predicted by many people centuries before His birth. Yes, my friends, Jesus was born in Israel, in the village of Bethlehem, under circumstances that you would not wish for any child. His cradle, some say in a stable, was where cattle were fed. Shortly after His birth, the family had to flee to Egypt because the King of Israel had heard of His birth and had ordered to kill Him because this King was jealous and afraid that this child would take his place in future.
After the king died, Jesus’s family returned to their own hometown. Jesus grew up in the village of Nazareth in the north of Israel. As Jesus grew up, it became apparent that He was special. They say that He grew in wisdom and people loved Him. When Jesus was about 30 years old, He began preaching and calling people to be sorry for their sins and and to live as God wants us to live.
Just like God wants it? Living our lives as God wants? What’s that about? Another important question that should come first, is — do you believe there is a God. After all, just as many don’t believe in me, Santa Claus, many people don’t believe that there even is a God. If you assume that there is no God, there are several reasons to reconsider that thought. Take a good look around you, right now! The world around you is incredibly complex. Just considering the wide variety of people, animals, and plants is incredible. Not only are all living beings themselves incredibly complicated, but there is actually a connection between people, animals, and plants that is also necessary for us to stay alive. Furthermore, there are many conditions on earth that need to be tuned into each other for life to even be possible. If one or a few of these circumstances were not available in the perfect balance, life itself would not be possible at all! Many people simply assume that everything just poof — popped into existence. In their understanding, life just evolved from microbes. But, where did those microbes come from. Too few people have taken the trouble to test these theories for themselves. There are more and more scientists who question the origin of life through evolution, the more that do so, the more the argument starts to crumple. When you begin to understand the impossibility that life has originated from a series of coincidences, then you will have to accept that there is another cause of creation. You’ll also understand that there must be something or someone who designed and put all this together. Suddenly the existence of a creative mind or power — a non-created, creative being exists behind all of this, begins to make sense. To us, Christians that being is better known as “GOD!” What does it all have to do with Christmas? That takes us back to the story of Jesus... Around the age of 30, Jesus had gathered a group of 12 pupils with Him and they traveled around in the north of Israel. He was very moved by the people and He visited different towns and cities. In those places, it often happened that He healed people from physical and mental diseases. Large groups of people often followed Him and it happened regularly that thousands of people would gather and listen to His stories, as well as witness His miracles.
The relationship of God with the people was central to His message. Hypocritical people were often addressed because they pretended to respect their creator but preferred to do whatever they wanted themselves. This is similar to today’s world where folks care more about themselves than they do about God or their neighbors. Jesus often dealt with simple-hearted people who were not hindered by their power and standing. He frequently opposed manmade religious laws and rules that had nothing to do with a sincere relationship with their God. The center of Jesus' message is that God is a God of love and that He prefers to offer people a beautiful future, which is a future in the presence of God himself! He looks after what He has created and He wants a relationship with His creatures — you and I. However, something important is getting in the way. God is a perfect and just being. He must, therefore, assess everything and everyone who disrespects Him or doesn’t live according to the ‘rules of the game.’ He has no patience with bad behavior. After all, if God allowed all bad action, there would be no respect for Him and chaos and anarchy would be the outcome. This is simply one reason that Santa has a “Naughty and Nice List,” pointing towards God, and reminding young folks of God’s own expectations for us to love God and Neighbor, and to be NICE to one another. Was that all there is? Yes, Jesus was a perfectly good man, even the Son of God. He did miracles on earth and died horribly to restore the human relationship with God. And, no, the story didn’t stop with His death! Three days after He died in the flesh, Jesus Christ rose from from the dead. He appeared to several people, even to more than 500 people at once! He showed that He was stronger than death and thus proved his Divine power and nature. You might think: what can I do with this? It may even sound as unbelievable as a jolly man dressed in red, delivering Christmas presents. However, if you cannot or don't want to believe this, think about it in another way — I know this all may sound complicated and confusing, but God loves you, and without Jesus’s birth, without Him coming into the world in human form, suffering and dying for our sins, there would be no hope of ever getting onto God’s Nice list — there would be no Joy of Christmas at all. What will you do with the story of Christmas? Thank you for taking the time to listen to this message about the story of Christmas. What does it mean to you? Now that you’ve heard that God loves you and has sent His Son Jesus to earth to restore the relationship with you. What will be your choice? Do you ignore this or do you want to know more? If the story about Jesus has helped you think about your relationship with your Creator, then it is evident that many questions will arise. Santa is here to answer your questions, however, you may wish to ask your parents or church leader for their help in this matter. Here’s praying that you’ve begun to believe in the mystery that’s the TRUE gift of Christmas, that you’ll believe in God’s only begotten Son, and that you’ll come to be on God’s NICE list…