Santa vs Jesus

Introduction

The title of the communion message today is simply Santa vs Jesus

  • So…if you have any small children here today who might be surprised by some of the “facts” about Santa.
  • We will take a look at why Santa appeals to us so much.
  • Then we will see that Santa pales in comparison with Christ.  How great is our Lord!

Matthew 22:41

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42″What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” “The son of David,” they replied. 43He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, 44” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” 45If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Digging In

I found some pretty funny videos comparing Jesus to Santa.

  • Very similar to “I’m a Mac & I’m a PC
  • There’s a pretty cool guy who says “I’m Jesus“. And another, short, fat, bald, annoying, insecure guy in a red Santa costume – who says “I’m Santa
  • In the end, Jesus is right (and still very humble) while Santa looks like a complete idiot.
  • And you are supposed to walk away thinking “How could I ever be enamored with Santa?”

Personally I don’t like this “straw man” argument very much.

  • In a straw man scenario, two foes are pitted against each other. And one is made to look clearly wrong.
  • Therefore, if the “this guy” looks like a nincompoop, then obviously “the other guy” must be right.
  • This happens all the time in politics. Someone is tryng to convince me that a candidate is an idiot. But is that really the best reason to cast my allegiance toward the one being portrayed as normal?

Everyone loves Santa!Today, we are going to take a different approach:  Maybe it sounds sacrilegious to you, but for many people, Santa is much more appealing than Jesus.

  • For many people, the images and feeling conjured up by “Santa” are much more appealing than those conjured up by “Jesus”.
  • Does Santa appeal to you?
  • Growing up, Santa has always appealed to me.
  • He is happy. He likes to laugh! Everyone knows his favorite cheer: Ho Ho Ho!
  • He is giving. He gives to all children…regardless of race, nationality or economic status…which makes him pretty fair.
  • He likes to listen to what you want.
  • He takes the time to have you sit on his lap/tell him what you really want.
  • So, many children will tell their secrets to Santa even if they won’t tell those secrets to their parents.
  • He’s magical and can fly.
  • There is no limit to his resources
  • He has as many elves (angels) as he needs to get the work done
  • And best of all, everything he does all year long is devoted to making everyone happy on December 24th and 25th.
  • What an awesome guy! – Who WOULDN’T love a person like that!

As one author put it, Santa represents the BEST of what our imagination can come up with.

  • This character embodies all the qualities we really deem important.
  • We have put our heads together and come up with the ultimate character – Santa Claus

See – – Santa is a projection of our greatest wishes and wants.

  • He is a caring friend who travels a long way to give you gifts
  • He is a wise man who is aware of your good and bad deeds – yet chooses to bless you despite your vices.
  • He loves children & invites them to sit on his lap & open up their hearts.
  • What a guy! What a hero!
  • He embodies our passions, yearnings and hopes.
  • Yet he also reveals our pathetic expectations.

 Santa cannot really provide for our deeper, inner needs

  • He comes around once a year
  • He’s not there for your spring time final exams
  • He’s not there during the difficulties of tax season
  • He’s simply not always around

And more than that, although he gives, he doesn’t take anything away

  • He doesn’t take away the riddle of death and the grave
  • He doesn’t take away the confusion about how to keep a marriage and raise kids
  • He doesn’t remove the burden of making mistakes
  • He doesn’t take away the anxiety of life’s demands
  • He doesn’t remove the unbearable weight of a guilty conscience
  • And he doesn’t do anything with your sin.

My point here is NOT to slam Santa

  • But rather to slam how bad we are at designing our own legends and heroes
  • You’d think that we’d have come up with the ultimate hero
  • King Arthur/Jack Bauer doesn’t have all the answers
  • And even Superman has an Achilles heel and needs to lie about who he really is.
  • Our heroes, as noble as they are, were conceived in the same stained society as you and I.

But what about Jesus?

Jesus is way beyond anything man has ever been able to concoct.

  • That was half the problem when he came.
  • Everyone expected a Warrior like David.
  • Everybody expected a King like King Solomon

During his final week on earth, he summarized his claims with one question.

  • What do you think about the Christ…Whose son is he?
  • He didn’t ask what you think about his teachings
  • He didn’t ask your feelings about his social/political opinions
  • He wanted to know if you understand that he is defined by “Whose son he is“.
  • See, that is the ultimate question to ponder – regarding the Christ.

Do you see what Jesus is getting at?

  • Is he the son of David – and therefore the ultimate warrior?
  • Or is he the Son of God – and therefore FAR BEYOND WHAT YOU CAN EVEN IMAGINE

If God asked us to design a redeemer, what would he look like?

  • I guarantee he would be much different that Jesus
  • We would place him in a castle, far away and safe
  • We would allow him a few brief encounters
  • We would revere him so much – that no prostitute/tax collector could ever get near.
  • We wouldn’t ask him to dwell in the middle of sin-diseased people

In our wildest dreams we would never conjure up a king who just becomes one of us.

  • But God did!
  • God did what we wouldn’t dare dream!
  • God did what we couldn’t imagine.
  • He became a man so that we could trust him.
  • He became a sacrifice so that we could know him.
  • And he defeated death so we could follow him.

Upward Call

So this message is not an indictment of Santa Claus, but rather an indictment of you and me – and our feeble expectations.

I have had doubts at times in my life – did we create Jesus or did he create us?

  • We could NEVER create Jesus.
  • He truly is TOO GOOD to be true – but he IS true.

So let go of your feeble expectations and meager thinking! And faithlessness.

  • And accept the fact that Jesus is GOD’s Son!
  • And it is absolutely incredible that he knows whether you’ve been bad or good.
  • And he offers not just to give you things and overlook your mistakes.
  • No, he offers to give you eternal life
  • And removes your doubts, fears, worries, and especially your guilt!

Prayer for Bread and Wine

 

Reference

Max Lucado, The Angels Were Silent, P 98

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