(my Thought For The Day on December 18, 2020...)
It was the Sunday before Christmas. I was about 7 years old. It was the afternoon. We had been up to Ballymena Cemetery to visit my Granda Kernohan’s grave.
I must have been a naughty boy… nothing new there… but Granny was angry. When we returned to her house she wrote a note to Santa to tell him what a bad little boy Steve had been. I watched it go up the chimney and she told me that she saw Santa with it, sailing over the Town Hall. My Christmas was done. I am pretty sure it didn’t calm me down.
I’ve always had an issue with Santa, checking whether we have been naughty and nice, ever since.
It is the way of the world. The good and well behaved. The passers of society’s tests. They are in. The naughty are off everybody’s lists.
If we take ourselves out of the Santa Christmas for a moment and get our heads into the Jesus Christmas instead, there is a whole other kind of attitude going on.
When Jesus was born, he threw the Santa naughty or nice test out of the reindeer flying sky and gave us another way to see each other.
In this nativity scene we see the most unlikely getting on Jesus’s list. I mean Mary and Jospeh to start with. Jesus was God coming to earth. He is known in hymns as King Of Kings and Lord Of Lords. He could set a few tests. Instead he arrives in humility, born of an ordinary teenage girl and is laid down in animal straw.
And around him shepherds and eastern stargazers. These weren’t the religiously qualified or the Israel’s high society. Indeed the PhD’s and royalty tried to kill him. It was the dirty shepherds and foreign mystics who got invited in.
They aren’t invited by some behavioural code or societal qualification. No… Santa is very much about how good you are… My 7 year old self suffered from that… Jesus is all about grace… unmerited favour… loved as you are… as my 17 year old self discovered and my 59 year old self will still treasure on Christmas Day. I prefer Jesus to Santa every single day!