We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. –Hebrews 6:1
I’m running a B & B for Santa Clauses. Or a detention center. I’m not sure.
Out in my cold garage, all wrapped up and nestled on shelves, lie 31 Santa Claus figures. A burly outdoorsy Santa carrying a tree over his shoulder. A mystical wizard-looking Santa in a robe. Short, hand painted wooden figurines. Tall, spindly abstract Santas.
31 of them!
We’ve gathered them over a few decades, but the last couple years it hasn’t seemed worth it to set them all up. We’ve kept things simpler. A tree, a manger scene, and that’s about it.
But those Santas…
At night, I can hear them muttering to one another, out in the garage. They’re restless. Most of the year they’re content to slumber away, but not in December.
The outdoorsy Santa says: “If they’d let us out of here we could at least ring the salvation army bells somewhere.”
“Yeah,” an old fashioned looking Santa replies. “If we went to 31 different locations, think how much change we’d collect!”
“Or,” the mystical looking Santa says, “We could go to 31 different churches and increase everybody’s attendance by one!”
“Maybe,” a gnome-like Santa says, “but I think we could make more of a difference if we all impersonated yard gnomes and made sure nobody stole packages off people’s porches!”
“I mean,” the tall spindly Santa says, “if they’re not going to use us, they could at least give us away to someone else. Tis the season of giving, right?”
I heard a lot of agreement with that. He was right. So I got up out of bed, stepped into the cold garage, unboxed each Santa…
And set them free. They scurried off into the night to do what Santa’s do best.
I spotted the outdoorsy one today, escorting an old man across the street. The mystical one was at the coffee shop, having a deep theological discussion about the Incarnation. And I caught a glimpse of three or four at the thrift store, passing out gifts.
I was a little sorry to see them go, but more than anything, I was thinking about why I had collected them in the first place. To me, Santa is a human attempt to reflect the divine impulse of giving. Santa reminds us that humans can give grace. We were made in the image of God, and blessed by the Grace of Jesus. Santa knows this.
Santa isn’t the manager of a toy factory. Santa is one of the “Saints”, devoting himself to a lifetime of thanks to God by giving to God’s children. As I, too, should be.
This morning, I walked out to my empty garage, and grinned.
I was ready to be…
Have a Merry Christmas!
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