Wednesday, December 14, 2005

'tis the season for the Christmas Santa tiz ~ day 10

The articles keep pouring in, or should I say, pouring out. The big hub-bub this year has been about some churches canceling services on Christmas Sunday so that people can spend time with their families. While I would wholeheartedly disagree with this practice,it seems as though those making the most noise about it are the same people who are all wound up about church authority and the keys of the kingdom and whatnot. Did it ever occur to them that perhaps God is working in a different way among the elders, deacons, and pastors in those churches as they hold Christmas Eve services or have week long worship services instead? Why not just rejoice in your own celebrating of Christmas and your own Sunday worship and be hesitant to cast judgement? Oh, I forgot to mention that these same folks are the ones proclaiming God's judgement on the Katrina victims. My own opinion is that God will reserve His harshest judgement for those who speak for Him in this way.

Now, about Santa. I have read too many laments through the years about this grandfatherly gift-bearer to be too concerned. In my estimation, taking on Santa is agin to taking on the banished elements of worship that are leftover after the hyper-regulative principle folks have had their way. The argument is the same....these things take away God's glory. How sad, to worship a God who's glory can be taken away by a mere man, let alone a jolly one in a red suit.

H. Clay Trumbull, great-grandfather of Elizabeth Elliot, in his book called Hints on Child Training, has devoted a chapter to adding value to a child's Christmas. He talks about the joy of anticipation and the hanging of stockings, of finding treasures on Christmas morning, of the parent giving of himself to make the morning special. He wisely said "He who would make children happy must do for them and do with them, rather than merely give to them. He must give himself with his gifts, and thus imitate and illustrate, in a degree, the love of Him who gave Himself to us, who is touched with the sense of our enjoyments as well as our needs, and who, with all that He gives us,holds out an epectation of some better thing in store for us: of that which passeth knowledge and understanding but which shall fully satisfy our hopes and longings when at last we have it in possession."

It seems to me that that is a picture of who the original Santa Claus was as told here:

"The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick. One of the best known of the St. Nicholas stories is that he saved three poor sisters from being sold into slavery or prostitution by their father by providing them with a dowry so that they could be married. Over the course of many years, Nicholas's popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6. This was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married. By the Renaissance, St. Nicholas was the most popular saint in Europe. Even after the Protestant Reformation, when the veneration of saints began to be discouraged, St. Nicholas maintained a positive reputation, especially in Holland."


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