"No Ho Ho Ho?"
December 22, 2008
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17
PARENT ALERT: If your children are Santa aficionados, you may want to read this devotion before deciding if you wish to share it with them!
I ask you, "If you can't trust Santa, who can you trust?"
This year, it appears that children are trusting the bearded fellow. They are sharing things on their lists and letters, which weren't there a year ago.
Sure, there are still requests for an Elmo Live or a Nintendo Wii. The old regulars like Star Wars and Barbie stuff haven't been banished from the litanies of the things children want either. But this year, department store Santas have been asked to come up with a "new job for Daddy" or "money so Mom can buy back the family home."
Timothy Connaghan, a veteran Santa-player of 40 years and teacher at a school that trains other "jolly, old elves," said, children "usually ask Santa to fix things. They know he is someone who can grant wishes."
Now, with a name like Klaus, I like Santa as much as the next person. Still, that last comment, the one about granting wishes, bothered me. I wondered how Nicholas, the fourth-century bishop of the Turkish city of Myra, might have reacted if he were to hear his namesake say that.
Although Nicholas, at least according to tradition, used his family fortune in helping the poor and needy, I don't think he would be so very pleased.
That's because Nicholas, through the inspired Word, had looked into Jesus' manger; stood before Calvary's cross, and seen the empty grave cloths of Easter Sunday. Like James, Nicholas knew every good gift and every perfect gift comes from the Father.
This is why, I believe, Nicholas would say, "In troubling and difficult times only Jesus can answer the deepest needs of your heart. Be turned to the Savior, not Santa."
Having said that, it is right for us to come to our heavenly Father who hears the prayers of those who acknowledge His Son as Savior.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, for giving me what I needed in the person of Jesus, my deepest gratitude and praise. Now I bring before you all those who are poor. For those who are poor in spirit, I ask they may see the riches that come to those who know Jesus. For those who are poor physically, may they be given the gifts that You wish to share. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries