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Monday, December 21, 2020

Santa Vs. Jesus : The Devil Who Stole Christmas |Opinion Piece|


  The Spirit of CHRISTMAS 

     Growing up, Christmas in our home was always a busy time of year. All would awaken early on “Christmas Sunday” (the Sunday before Christmas) to the sound of my older sister belting out “Noel” in the bathroom, running the final rehearsal before her big choir lead. The grunts of my elder brothers could also be heard, as they carried an assortment of heavy “Christmas Musical Supplies” outside under the sharp guidance of my mother. My Father, of course, would already be gone ahead to prepare communion for the church. And I would be dressed in swaddling clothes, or as a lowly lamb, or, in my senior year, as Mary herself, in authentic Israeli garb (my mother’s best sheets and Aunt’s robes and belts.)

     All the way to the church we would rehearse lines and recite our Christmas speeches, stomachs turning inside out at the thought of public speaking.  

     But, for all its stress and strain, Christmas Sunday was always special. Anointed, even. And the performances were always perfect- no matter the mistakes- because the hearts of many were touched through our small productions. I recall a man, recently released from prison and visiting his family, falling at the altar in surrender during a play’s final musical selection. And because of moments like that one, when the whole church raised their hands to God in praise, I came to love CHRISTmas.

   But oh, how Christmas has changed over the last few decades!

   Rare are the Christmas plays, nativity scenes and reenactments of the Christmas Story. Nearly extinct, are the Christmas suits, Christmas Speeches, and Christ centered Christmas songs! As the grandparent generation dies and a less ‘traditional’, faithful, and spiritual generation comes into parenthood, such experiences have been deemed trivial and have been replaced.

    Christmas is still being celebrated…in fact its bigger than ever! But the heart of it, its essence, has become misconstrued. This needs no statistics to validate, though many can be applied. All one need do is scroll the timeline of any social media network:

    Matching pajamas? Check. 

Beautiful family portraits? Check. 

Sexy Christmas selfies? Check.

 Glamourous Christmas photoshoots? Check.

 “I deserve it,” posts? Check.

 “Woe is me,” posts? Check.

 But Jesus, Jesus- has been left unchecked from the priority list - even by the Saints!

    What happened to the Church’s Christmas?

      Before we begin, we all know that Jesus was not actually born on December 25th. Christmas is not about the actual day He was born, but rather to celebrate that He WAS born. And while the origins of Christmas may be debatable, the purpose of Christmas for the Church is very clear. If you’re looking for an article that either resists or supports the validity and necessity of Christmas, you’ll have to keep looking. This article isn’t that.

    But, for clarity sake, my own stance is this; that because Jesus feasted, remembered, and celebrated, so will I. And because His birth was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, I have great cause for such celebrating. December 25th is just as good a day as any to celebrate Him, perhaps even an advantageous day when considered from a witnessing perspective.

   But it was from this thought which sprung the question of this article, are we?

   Celebrating Him, I mean?

   Is the church still celebrating Jesus on Christmas? Is His birth still the reason for our Christmas season?

    Or, has somewhere along the line, the adventurous tale of God’s visitation to earth lost its awe to us...and (as spoiled children receiving too many gifts) we throw it aside into a pile of others with just a simple, ‘thank you?’

      My stern answer is yes. Yes, we’ve forgotten Him, yes, we’re desensitized, and no, He’s not the central focus of Christmas anymore, not even for Christians. Please understand that I am speaking from a blanketed, collective, majority rule, and not to you (unless it is you). It is to us, I speak.

     And however awful these truths are, (terribly awful), pointing fingers is not the point. Awareness is. For we did not simply forget the importance of glorifying Jesus in this season and become self-glorifying and indulgent by chance. No. It was through much more intention than that. Satan planted seeds that would grow into weeds, weeds that would attempt to choke Christ out of a generation. That Christless generation presents Christless Christmas, the fruit of seeds sown long ago. And while caroling and hot cocoa sweeten the exterior, at the center of it is satan, or santa, depending on how you spell it.

Santa Vs Jesus

   Let us examine the superficies.

    Firstly, the story of Jesus has never been given the glitz and glamour treatment that that other character is constantly given. Growing up I’d often long to see stories of Jesus, his birth, and his super-natural childhood in a tv series, or David and his incredible war adventures, or Joshua, or Samson, or Esther play out on the big screen with a big budget.

     But though God himself was being born as a human, and the heavens literally opened to reveal a host (an innumerable amount!) of glorious angels singing… and there was a giant, glowing, supernatural star moving through the sky and shining down as a spotlight… and there was an angry, vicious, wealthy, King carrying out a positively diabolical plan to murder babies… Hollywood has never invested in telling this story. But many have naively presumed that Bible stories are simply “too boring” to be made into feature films.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

      One day, while watching a Marvel comics film, I realized that I was, literally, watching a scene from the book of Revelation. Later, while watching another comic film, I recognized the story of Jesus playing out and it hit me - we’ve been watching the stolen skeletons of Bible stories play out for years in blockbuster films- stolen themes and stolen messages manipulated and sold without rights. And as generations of Christians who do not read the Bible rise alongside the now majority mass who identify as non-religious, this blatant plagiarism is lost to unbelieving hearts.

   They will never tell the story of Jesus because they used it to create their Superman.

    And as the crowds grow to watch them bring ‘superman’ to life, crowds to hear about the true Superman wane, his biography told as a myth, discarded as an old relic. Through deception they worship a false god, while the true Superman, Jesus, who really did exchange his life for ours, remains uncelebrated.

      In conclusion, if one asks Santa, or Satan? The answer is that they are one and the same. Santa, as the Easter Bunny and the Snake from the garden, is just another disguise that Satan puts on to steal God’s glory.

     One look at that twinkling eye, glaring red suit, omniscient and omnipotent presence, transposed letters in the name (santa), riding through the air (Ephesians 2:2), and debilitating thirst to take over Christmas, should be enough to set a Saints tooth on edge against Santa.

    The world simply does what they do best- sell it to us- but the church must not become the top consumer.

     As the enemy is intentional in planting seeds of carnality and deceit, we must intentionally promote and plant seeds of truth. We must each allow His glorious story to shine as many Christmas lights in the darkness.

   He gave us the first and greatest Christmas gift, His son. If you look closely, you will see His blood in the stripes of the candy cane. You will see His crucifixion in the Christmas tree. As the salvation army rings their bells, you will remember that He was not born into luxury, but poverty. 

And He desires for us to be a light, that star in the darkness that will lead wise men to Him.

   If we dig deeply enough, we can find His skeleton in the frame of many Christmas traditions.

   Will you join me in peeling away layers of distraction, self-indulgence, and materialism to spread the joy of Christmas again?


Merry CHRISTmas,

Noisy For God






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