by Pastor Red Etzel
You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I'm telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town. (At least, finally, it is not too early to hear, or read these familiar lines, unlike all the carols, decorations, & what-not that has already been displayed way before Thanksgiving this year.)
He's making a list & checking it twice. He's going to find out who's naughty & nice. Santa Claus is coming to town.
The vast majority of people these United States rearrange their whole schedules, transform their entire lives, to conform to the words of this little song. It's amazing that a little ditty first sung on the radio show of entertainer Eddie Cantor in 1934 could so change the world, or, at the very lease, accurately encapsulate how Christmas has gone wrong.
Maybe it's the weight of so many years of celebrating the holiday. Maybe it's the nostalgia & hope to recapture some child-like joy destroyed by maturity. Maybe it's just the anticipation that a little "good cheer" & holiday spirit will entice friends & family to forget how miserable you've been to them all year & still give you a present (or several) come December 25th. But everyone seems to at least try to be nicer, friendlier, & more hospitable between December 1st & the big day. Maybe it's the hope that Santa Claus will come to town, & to your own home.
Why? Why do we hope for an annual visit, if in spirit only, from a Turkish priest wrapped in a German name? Why do we want a singular visit from someone so wonderful? Why not instead sing about Santa moving in & making himself at home with you? For that matter, why do we look for anyone to stay with us & give us good things, happy things, grand & glorious blessings of life, health, &joy, besides our Lord Jesus Christ
He is the one who can give us all things, the tree, the lights, the feast, the toys, all of it including eternal life. And He will never just drop things off of some enchanted sled & then hightail it back to the ice-bound northern wilderness. In fact He has made it a promise to never leave us. Remember these?
- Matthew 18:20 - Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
- Matthew 28:20 - Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
And even back as far as the Old Testament, we have the promise:
- Psalm 139:7-12 - Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there! If I take the wings of the morning & dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, & Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me, & the light about me be night,' even the darkness is not dark to You; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with You.
Our savior, our Christ, is the true one who sees you when you're sleeping, & knows when you're awake. He knows when you've been bad or good, & forgives you for all of it.
So this Advent, Christmas, & Epiphany seasons (& include the rest of the year as well), better watch out for the one who doesn't just come to town once a year, but has promised to come & stay with you now & forever. merry Christ-mass!