12-25-16 WHAT ABOUT SANTA
WHAT ABOUT SANTA?
December 25, 2016
During the past few weeks I had been wrestling with my thoughts about how Christmas today is more focused on Santa, on receiving presents, and how today the true meaning of Christmas is not only politically incorrect, but actually outlawed in many places from public display. And yet images of Santa Claus are everywhere! The words of Revelation 2:5 haunted me... "Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first." Oh Lord, I prayed, have we removed you from your throne on Christmas? Forgive us Lord! I even researched Saint Nicholas, and how the whole legend of Santa Claus emerged from this saint known for secret gift giving, who died in the year 323 AD. But still the present day commercialism was laying heavy on my heart. So I prayed about what to write for a Christmas sermon. What about Santa, Lord? What do I say about Santa? And then the Lord showed me this song written by Red Sovine. By the time I had finished reading it, there were tears in my eyes. If there was ever a Christmas poem about both Jesus and Santa, that neither dethroned Jesus, nor commercialized Christmas, this is it:
BILLY'S CHRISTMAS WISH
The fat man sat on the busy street corner, his white beard and red suit in line.
His Ho, Ho brought joy to the children, for again it was Christmas time.
His belly would shake as he merrily laughed spreading his Christmas joy.
"I'm Santa, come sit on my knee", he'd say, to each little girl and boy.
But standing apart from the merry crowd, stood a lad at about 7 years old,
With no coat to cover his bony frame - he was shaky and weak from the cold.
He had no shoes to warm his feet - he looked hungry, just skin and bone;
But with a look of peace on his humble little face, he just stood there all alone.
When Santa saw the boy his sympathy grew, and he said, "Come here to me".
He covered the trembling frame with his robe, as he placed the child on his knee.
The boy looked up to Santa's eyes with worship for the bearded man.
He said, "My name's Billy and I love you sir. Why you're the grandest in all the land".
"And I didn't mean to be no trouble Santa", he went on trying hard to smile,
"But I heard you laughing and I saw the kids and I thought I would just watch for a while."
"I won't bother you with wanting nothing sir, 'cause I already know I been bad."
Santa looked down at the poor little ragged boy, and he said, "Son, where is your mother and dad?"
"Well my daddy lives in prison, Santa, that's what momma says anyhow."
"They say he shot momma's boyfriend. He's been there a long time now."
"And me and momma, we live with Mr. Brown now. Mom works at the bar every day."
"Mr. Brown just drinks beer and cusses a lot, whenever I get in his way."
"I've been gone about 4 days now Santa. I've been sleeping in cars that I find."
"And I know that makes me a bad boy, but you sure been treating me kind."
"I've been praying for you since I've been big enough Santa, every Christmas Eve night."
"And then the next day the kids have all the toys, and I know that you made it alright."
"And I'm so glad to see them so happy as I go walking along."
"But my stocking is always empty. That's how I know I done wrong."
"Mr. Brown told me all about it. He said I just ain't no good."
"And I know he's right cos you never came, sir, and I know if I wasn't bad then you would."
"It's OK, son", Santa muttered. Such faith he'd not seen in a while.
Though a tear was straining to fill his eyes, he looked down at the lad with a smile.
"Just tell Santa what you'd like son. Anything that you might have in mind."
"I didn't know where you lived before Billy, but I promise I won't miss you next time."
Little Billy's face quickly grew brighter. Such luck he would never have guessed.
After thinking a while he finally said, "Well, sir, I might just have one request."
"Have you ever been to Heaven Santa? Why I bet you know God, as good as you are."
"Could I just ride up to Jesus' house, sir? If it's not too awful far."
"He might just let me live there a while. Daddy says he likes little boys."
"And I wouldn't take too much room, sir. I'd just sit in the back with the toys."
"And I promise not to be bad Santa. And I could help God do his chores."
"And he might even let me see Daddy. And I wouldn't be hungry no more."
"I'm so tired and sleepy now Santa", said the child as he looked toward the skies.
With a sigh he relaxed against Santa's chest, and peacefully closed his eyes.
Santa quickly felt for the little boy's pulse. "Someone please get a doctor!" he said.
But when the ambulance took little Billy away, everyone knew he was dead.
The children had grown more solemn, as they listened to the little boy.
They were no longer happy and laughing, his story had stolen their joy.
They looked to Santa for comfort. He fought for the right words to say.
He said, "Now kids, don't be sad for Billy, cos he just went to Heaven today."
"He wanted to go and live with God. So now everything's alright."
"Let thoughts of Billy make your hearts be kind. And I'll see you all Christmas Eve night."
Amen. May our hearts also be kind this Christmas.