Jesus and Santa

test1With Christmas fast approaching, we tried and tried to think of a very special subject for our December Movers and Shakers. Two very special names kept popping into my mind; Jesus and Santa.
Now, I know that the two bring about individual and quite personal thoughts for each of us, especially at this time of year. The air turns crisper, the decorations fill the store shelves and prayers for snow in the south fill our dreams. But I wonder, how will you spend your Christmas day and what does it mean to you and your family? You can tell us your story on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear how your family celebrates the season. Feel free to share your photos with us too!
I watched my husband reading his Bible by the crackling fire last night and my memory drifted back to the time I first learned that there were people who didn’t believe in Jesus or the story of the first Christmas. I was about 8 years old and a classmate at school said that Christmas wasn’t a “Jesus thing” it was just a day when kids got whatever they wanted from Santa.
I was confused and shocked. Like many people in the Deep South, I was brought up in a Christian home and taught that Christmas wasn’t just about new toys, the smell of turkey roasting in the oven and the lights that adorned a tree inside the house. For us it was about a baby born in a simple and lowly manger and how He came to save us all.
Now I know there are a lot of people who do not believe in Jesus and some who worship Jesus in a very different way than those of the Christian faith do. I am not bringing you this story to change your mind or say that you must choose between our two movers and shakers of this month. Rather, I want to bring you a little history of the two for the sheer enjoyment of it!
Let’s look at the story of Jesus first. To Christians, Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas. His birth in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago is still discussed and disputed by some today. His mother, Mary, gave birth to Him as a virgin and He is known as the Son of God.
When we put our nativity scenes up for Christmas we lay the tiny baby Jesus in the manger and surround Him with figures of Mary, His earthly father, Joseph, 3 kings of the orient and various farm animals we believe shared that first holy night together. We put a big star on top of our decorated tree in remembrance of the star we believe helped guide the wise men to where the boy Jesus lay. This “King of the Jews” is said to have come to save the world.
In the King James Version of the Holy Bible, John 3:16 states “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in His should not perish, but have everlasting life”. . It’s that simple. He came to save us all and it is His birth that we celebrate.
The Christmas story, as it is known today, is found in Luke where it states, in part, “and she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
That last verse conjures thoughts of all those less fortunate who will not have a Christmas like most of us will. Some of them will be cold. Some will be hungry. Some simply will be physically alone and forgotten by those they once knew and loved.
The Christmas Story is also a movie that I like to watch over and over every year just to feed my “inner mom” and remind myself how good I’ve got it. This, along with watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas about 20 times pretty much kicks off my holiday season.
Now, whether you keep Christmas day set aside as a religious holiday or not, it is a day for family to be together and celebrate.
For many people around the world, December 25th is a time to cozy around a roaring fire, drink eggnog and gather friends and family near to share in the love of the season. It is also time for wide-eyed children to write letters to our second mover and shaker featured this month. The tiny tots visit malls all across America, to sit on his knee and tell him their deepest wishes for Christmas morning.
There is no mistaking his hearty laugh, sparkling eyes and fur-lined red suit. He gets more letters than any other “person” in the world. His mode of transportation is unlike any other and he is probably the best toy maker even known.
He is Santa Claus! A jolly elf that lives at the North Pole and rides through the sky in a magic sleigh on Christmas Eve. He delivers presents to all the good boys and girls throughout the world. Legendary and bigger than life is his wonderful story that captivates children of all ages year after year.
Santa is a magical being, a friend to all and hater of none. He makes dreams come true and can melt the most Scrooge-like hearts when that very special gift waits under the tree Christmas morning.
There have been beautiful songs written to honor both Jesus and Santa Claus that bring a tear to the eye and tug at the heart. They are beloved symbols of the Christmas season that represent all good things; love, kindness, gentleness and generosity.
So, when you wake up on Christmas morning will your thoughts turn to Jesus or Santa or perhaps both in one instant epiphany?
Either way, we could think of no more deserving, more treasured, or more loved than these special Christmas figure heads.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Go To Places Monthly!

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