Do you have a favorite picture book to share with children during Christmas? I’ve mentioned a few in a previous post. Recently I was reminded of another favorite – Santa’s Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki.
In the book, woodland animals find Santa sleeping under a tree. He was exercising in preparation for Christmas Eve but became overly tired.
The animals expressed concern that there might not be Christmas if Santa couldn’t deliver the gifts. Santa carefully explained that Christmas really had nothing to do with him. Then he tells the animals the real story of Christmas. Santa wraps up his story with this truth:
“Love was the gift God gave to us on the first Christmas, and it still is, you know. And this love is far better than any present I can ever deliver.”
The story reminds me of a song by Downhere published on their album, How Many Kings. In “Christmas in our Hearts,” the lyricists say:
Even if nobody said Merry Christmas
If even the choirs and belfries made no sound
There would be peace on the Earth and forgiveness
‘Cause it’s Christmas in our hearts
Oh if every sleigh bell on Earth just disappeared
The 24th of December, we start ringin’ the new year
There would be peace on the Earth, and forgiveness
‘Cause its Christmas in our hearts
(written by Marc A. Martel, Jason Ronald William Germain)
I’ve been thinking about the many elements at Christmas – which ones are most important to me? Which ones make the season for me? Do I have to have a tree? Lights? Christmas music? I enjoy all of these, but what if, as the song suggests, they all just disappeared – would Christmas still be Christmas?
And, of course, the answer is yes! Christmas’s essence or central truth is not a decoration, song, or symbol but flesh and blood as God took on human form, Emmanuel, God with us!
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.John 1:14 NLT
Let’s take time today to thank God for sending His son and to celebrate the living Savior who dwells with us and in us!
Father, We are so easily caught up in the trappings of Christmas. The lights, music, and shopping capture our attention, so much so that sometimes the coming of Jesus, His becoming flesh, making His home on earth, is hidden from sight. May we see Jesus in each light, song, and gift – for He is truly the Light of the World. He puts a song in our hearts. And He is the ultimate gift and gift-giver. We confess now the idols of our consumer-driven Christmas and ask for wisdom and strength to set our hearts and minds on things above! Amen.