It’s that wonderful time of year once again! There is holiday cheer and well wishes, gift giving and receiving, and an all around joyful atmosphere (usually). The lights are up, Santa’s are out, and creche sets have been placed.
And once again, it’s time for an advent blog. It’s actually my fourth Christmas blog, although I kind of cheated last year by just incorporating Christmas into my existing series. It worked…but this year I didn’t do a fall series, and I was left in the quandary of having to figure out a suitable blog.
I’ll admit, I was all out of ideas. At first I was going to just “blog” a short story about the Christmas season (which will one day, God willing, make it into a novel). However, I wasn’t satisfied with that option. I’m just not ready to be *that* vulnerable yet, and I felt I didn’t have sufficient time to do research or flesh out the characters.
I toyed with the idea of not posting anything at all, but that seemed rather lame. So, I asked myself, “What is a good advent blog? What stories do we tell about Christmas?”
And then it hit me: Santa.
The Stories we Tell at Christmas Time
Yup, Santa Claus is the inspiration for this series. But Santa Claus isn’t the only story we tell at Christmas time. I grew up with the Scandinavian tradition of Santa Lucia Day, and all Christians tell the story of the nativity story through their decorations.
Those are the three “stories” we’ll be covering this holiday season: Santa Lucia, Santa Claus, and the nativity. We tell these stories at Christmas time – but often they become just that – stories told to children. We have forgotten that all of these figures were historical men and women of the faith. Real people who had hurts and joys, turmoils and triumphs, and who suffered for Christ. It’s why the Catholic church made them saints in the first place.
Christians love to remind people that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” There is always a sense of us needing to “reclaim” Christmas from the world. And to a certain extent, this is true. But are we merely being antagonistic, or are we actually teaching others? After all, that’s why Santa Lucia and Santa Claus became famous in the first place – they pointed others to Christ. And what are we saying about the nativity in our decorations? Are we showing the Gospel, or are we accumulating knick-knacks because we think they’re cute?
But of course, we are only products of history. Thus, rather than reclaiming Christmas for Christ, I think we need to reclaim history for Christ. And nowhere does it need that more than in the history of Christmas.