Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Santa, Jesus and Bobby Hull Table Hockey

When I was a little boy, Christmas was a time of Advent Calendars, anticipating Santa Claus and midnight Mass. Of course, the most exciting of the three is Santa Claus. One year I wanted a Bobby Hull Table Hockey Game. It was in the Sears Wish Book. I do not remember exactly how old I was but I do remember I was in grade school and that Santa was actually my father. But I did ask Santa for it.

That year Santa did not bring what I had asked for. And I cried. I spent the next few days crying. And I finally got it. I remember my mother coming to me and telling me the reason that it was not under the tree is because my parents could not afford it. As a child I never knew our financial situation. I just knew I had it better than my parents who grew up in the depression. They eventually bought it for me because they felt sorry for me. And that was a mistake. 

What I know as an adult I just didn't know as a child. And as a child I did not learn to deal with unreasonable expectations nor disappointments. And I, too, am guilty of trying to keep my children happy with their temporal wants. 

The truth is Santa Claus is not real but Jesus is. He is the Christ in Christmas. God condescended to us. As the classic carol goes:

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

Unfortunately our Christmas season has become one of covetous greed. We are all children wanting what we don't need. And we are parents forgetting that the pain of not getting what we want is temporary and a discipline to be learned! 

I am still learning that lesson in my middle age. And I know what my Lord teaches me in His adult years, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Mt. 6:19-20) I know these words and I know where I need to repent!

If God was content with a manger for a bed for His only Son, should we not be content with what God has provided for us? (Heb. 13:5-6)