Jump Start # 2485
Acts 4:10 “Let it be known to you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name this man stands before you in good health.”
The other day I was out and about driving and saw a sign on a church building, “Come have breakfast with Jesus and Santa.” Jesus and Santa—together. Together at breakfast. Come eat a bite and get your picture taken with Santa and with Jesus.
All kinds of thoughts raced through my head as I thought about that. Here are a few:
First, I suppose breakfast with only Santa doesn’t go well at a church. You have to toss Jesus in there somewhere.
Second, which one do you think most kids would rather see? I think the answer is pretty obvious.
Third, as these kids grow up and learn the truth about Santa, what are they going to think about Jesus? If you’re good Santa gives you what you want. I suppose they would think that the same works for Jesus. Just be good and Jesus will give you what you want. We know the truth about Santa. Is Jesus make believe?
Fourth, I don’t know how this church was going to work the lines, but, if Jesus was at one table and Santa at the other, most of the kids would be at the Santa table.
Fifth, what’s this Jesus going to tell children? Be nice? Behave?
Sixth, Santa pretty much looks the same everywhere. Red coat. White beard. Jolly belly. Great Ho-ho-ho. It’s not too hard to do Santa. But Jesus? What’s the guy being Jesus supposed to dress like? White toga? Flip-flops? Long wig?
Seventh, I hate to think this, but I suppose this church believes that they are doing a great community service by bringing in Jesus and Santa together. I’m not sure how this serves the community, but I’m certain they have this all figured out somehow.
Eighth, you wonder why the apostles never thought of this. They went into all the world simply preaching the gospel. They could have sold donkey rides, published their life stories and sold them. They could have offered a “fish dinner with Jesus.” But they didn’t. They didn’t bring in the Roman games. They left the carnival atmosphere outside. They didn’t have breakfast with Jesus and Santa throughout the world. What worked back then, still works today. When the pure word of God intersects with a heart that is honest and good, one will become a child of God. One doesn’t need to trick people, buy people, or strong arm people.
Ninth, we already have a meal with the Lord. It’s called the Lord’s Supper. The Corinthians were told that they were sharing with the Lord when they partook of the bread and fruit of the vine. The Lord prescribed what should be eaten and what the occasion was all about.
The name of Jesus, as our verse today reminds us, ought to connect us to the goodness, mercy and power of God. Having your picture taken and eating a cinnamon roll with someone who is pretending to be Jesus is not the same thing. The guy pretending to be Jesus clearly represents the religious culture of today. We turn Jesus into what we want.
In this confused times we live in, we don’t need to be putting Jesus next to Santa. In fact, the more distance we can have the better. A confused child may be praying to Santa and leaving milk and cookies for Jesus. And, what is most strange about all of this is that it is a church that is behind all of this. You’d think that a church of all places would want to make some clear distinctions between Jesus and Santa.