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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Be Like Santa Claus

The other day I did something I’ve never done before: I put on a Santa Claus outfit for a picture. I didn’t realize what I had done until I stepped outside and everything was different! People stopped whatever they were doing and looked at me. They exclaimed “Hi Santa!” They waved and smiled. They hoped that I’d notice and walk up to them. Children fell into a trance before me. Their eyes bulged with anticipation and their smiles beamed excitement. It was a magical moment.

I suddenly realized that I was carrying a great responsibility! And privilege! So I slowed down to smile at people, greet them with a “Ho! Ho! Ho!,” ask them what present they wanted, and wish them a Merry Christmas.

Afterward, I was reflecting on my experience and thinking how much fun it was to be so significant to people and the Spirit impressed upon me: “Bill, you’re always that important. You are to be the light in your world. Your smile, your greeting, your listening ear, your blessing are always very much needed by the people around you. Everywhere you go you represent Jesus Christ.”

Wow! That’s what it means for you and I to be Ambassadors for Christ to family and stranger alike, whether needy and hurting or busy and preoccupied. If only we could live that way – as if we’re walking around in a Santa Claus suit and are compelled to take the time to give people the blessing from God that they need. This is the way to a Merry Christmas!

The True Santa Claus

1,700 years ago the true Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, did live this way. Born in modern day Turkey and orphaned at the age of nine, he gave gifts in secret to the poor and needy. He had compassion for the hurting. He cared for children. He became a priest to share the “good news of great joy that will be for all the people…a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). He stood for his faith in Jesus even though it meant persecution and jail. As a bishop he served on the Council of Nicea and asserted the same Christian beliefs that had come under attack and put him in jail.

The “Kneeling Santa” ornament has it right. Today, St. Nicholas is in heaven because he trusted in Jesus Christ who died on the cross and rose from the dead to conquer sin and death. He’s there in the “Great Cloud of Witnesses,” along with the other heroes of our faith (those written about in the Bible and those written into our own histories), cheering us on as we now carry the baton in the relay race of faith (Hebrews 12:1).

This Christmas season, let’s celebrate the birth of Jesus in our hearts and in our world as St. Nicholas did. Let’s carry on the true Santa’s Christmas ministry of sharing blessings with others in Jesus’ name.

Reprinted with permission from Christian Soul Care Devotion © 2003, 2010 

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