This is one of my favorite Christmas videos. A beautifully rendered version of an old English carol by Sting. I think I like it primarily because it is unexpected.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I'm hearing from a lot of Christian parents who think the idea of Santa Claus is baad. They think it is their duty before God to shield their children from this cultural fantasy. Not only is it an evil, worldly myth, children must then endure the trauma of finding out their parents lied to them about St. Nick. These parents are taking steps to ensure that the Santa hoax is expunged from the Christian record.
...Yeah. As Dr. Bill Hendricks my theology professor used to caution us; don't get your exercise jumping to conclusions. I think it is rash, perhaps even harmful, to deny for our children something their friends and classmates are celebrating. But that is the least of my reasons for standing up for the Jolly Fat man. The original Nicolas of Myra was a Christian bishop in the fourth century. His benevolent gifts and actions are the basis of the Santa myth. Saint Nicolas, in one form or another, is recognized and loved around the world. Even the Godless, communistic Soviets couldn't stamp him out. Far from denying him, we ought to celebrate Nicolas as a Christian hero. His life should be emulated, not excoriated.
Don't get me wrong, I understand the problem. The modern world of consumerism has taken old Nicolas hostage and made him over in its own image. Like a red velvet glove over a gold-plated fist, Santa Claus has become the sock puppet mouthpiece for every kind of greed and selfishness. That's true. It's been true for generations. It's not like we have to agree with it, or slavishly buy what the advertisers are selling us.
Okay, but what about the fact that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa. We should not allow our children's affections to be subverted away from the true Reason for the Season. Okay, I'll stipulate the last two statements. I agree. But there is something fundamental that's being missed here. Trashing Santa ignores the developmental realities of childhood. Children learn through play and fantasy. You think an imaginary Santa is bad? I assume that means your children do not have Batman or Merida pajamas. Oh, and I'm sure you don't let them waste time playing with toys either. It's just Navigators Discipleship courses from the age of three, right? You know what I'm saying is true. Be careful of stifling your child's imagination and creativity.
The Santa story teaches children about generosity and giving to others. You say Jesus teaches that too? Sure, but we still teach our kids about King David, Zacchaeus and George Washington. That argument is shallow. Children fantasize about tangible things to help them understand the intangible.
Dr. Hendricks related a story to his students from his first pastorate. A Woman in his congregation told him how she scolded her grandson for having an imaginary friend. "You don't have an invisible friend," she chided. "There's no such thing." Later, they sat down to lunch. After saying grace, she looked up to see her grandson studying her face. "Who are you talking to grandma?"
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL
Post Script: Be honest, were you REALLY devastated and traumatized when you discovered the truth about Santa Claus? I doubt it. Fantasy play is like that.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
But wait, what about the Heavenly choir at Bethlehem? There was none. Matthew's Gospel talks about the Magi, but no angels. It's Luke 2:8-12 that tells us about the angels:
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel SAID to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and SAYING,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Then the angels left and went back to heaven.
Well, okay... What about IN HEAVEN? Ah, ha! like in Revelation. Nope. Sorry. In the great picture of worship around the heavenly throne of Revelation 4, the angels before God SAY, "Holy, Holy, Holy."
In chapter 5, "...many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were SAYING: “Worthy is the Lamb."
Why? Why don't angels sing? I think it's because singing--music--is an inherently human action. Animals exist in the completely earthy realm. Angels exist in the purely spiritual realm. Humans are amphibians; we exist in both worlds at once. Music moves us; to joy, sorrow, sometimes to tears. We don't just play or sing music; we FEEL it. I don't believe angels truly comprehend music.
So, sorry I had to break your heart. But I take theology seriously. I take the same stand on other "doctrines of men" that have no foundation in scripture, as well.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I am speaking from a Biblical perspective. If you are an unbeliever, feel free to indulge your imagination. For those of you who claim to accept the Bible as God's Word, knock it off.