Tis the season for lights and cookies and trees and Santa! Last week we drove our kids down to a fancy upscale outdoor mall to see the schmancy Santa. He was okay. The tree was gorgeous but the mall photographer had clearly not completed her elf training.
A couple days later we went to our friend's pet store Christmas party. This Santa was a gentle, sweet man. Perfect!
(Side note, you should absolutely shop here is you have pets...they are fantastic.
I even got my photo in with this guy. I like Santa. I love the jolly cheer. I like to tell my girls about the first Santa, St. Nicholas and how much he loved Jesus. No Jesus, no Santa.
The next day we went on an adventure down reindeer avenue. It was fun, but a story for another day. However, there was another Santa! This one has been watching his carbs and working out because he was skiiiiiny.
The next day I had the following conversation with my youngest.
4 yr old: Mom. There are three Santas. Two are the same. One was different.
4 yr old: I'm keeping my eye on him.
Smart girl, little cynical but smart. I'm glad she's watching and careful with her heart. After I quit laughing we had a chat about how Santa probably has lots of helpers and how Santa is for fun.
I do want to warn her about Santa theology. You know....where people mix up Santa with Jesus? Think through this.
Santa keeps a naughty and nice list, Jesus sacrificed himself to make relationships possible for everyone. Santa gives you what you ask for, Jesus gives what is best. Santa is fun, Jesus is forever.
My daughter is keeping her eye on Santa. She is watching to see if he disappoints. As she grows up, I'm praying she'll turn those eyes to the real giver of gifts. For He has His eyes on her.
I was sitting in my aisle at church yesterday watching the kid's Christmas program. A two story crafted building stood on one side of the stage adorned with a bright yellow sign "Hotel Bethlehem". The kids sang their way through a cute rendition of the Christmas story. The hotel is staffed by a team of hard working yet slightly selfish people. The guests come from all over the country and sported darling fake accents. I grinned through most of the show.
And then Joseph showed up asking for a room. And just like in the Bible, the hotel manager informed him there was no room.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:6-7
The next song the kids sang stated "We're so so so so sorry, there is no room for you". It was an upbeat little number, cute choreography and a snappy beat. And I totally started to cry.
The truth hit me right there in the midst of our kids' program. I frequently tell Jesus that I'm too busy, too tired, too distracted or too hurting for him. I say it in a flippant and upbeat way. No room for you. Move along. I've got more important things to do. Oh please this Christmas season may I make room for Jesus!
I make room for Jesus when I pray and when I read the Bible. When I listen to his spirit in my life and adjust accordingly. When I'm grateful for His gift.
The sweet storyline bore futher into my heart as a verse later in Matthew scrolled through my head.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25: 37-40
Practically speaking, I make room when I love other people. When I feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty. Clothe the naked, visit people in prison.
Oh ouch. It's been awhile.
A sweet stable boy in the play snuck to the side of Joseph and invited him in. The rest of the play involved shephards and hotel staff learning about the gift of Christmas. One invitation made room for everyone to see.
I loved this little play. I love the kids involved and their fearless leaders. I loved the costumes and the music. Mostly though I loved the reminder.
I can make room for Jesus by loving hurting people. And so can you. May the world see.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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