Last night had a fun dilemma – either watch the 50th Special Anniversary of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or the telecast of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. The winner – “Santa”! Now before the tears come about the cuteness of “Rudolph” and yes like Clarice declares – he is cute!! But see I own a VHS copy (yes this is how long ago it was purchased) of “Rudolph” but not of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. Plus I missed the “Santa” telecast last year for which, although I have watched it every other year practically my entire life, I was disappointed! Well watching all these classics are tradition!! Part of the family Christmas memories, so a year without “Santa” is like a year without the holiday!
I still smell the homemade -by-Mom- Christmas sugar cookies in the oven —-mmmmmm!! The sparkling colorful lights on the tree and with tinsel (we all survived this dangerous tree decoration – ahh the joys of freedom), the handcrafted-by-Mom Mr. & Mrs, Santa in the corner, and of course the Nativity scene brightly on display. In our family home, Christmas was the most festive time of the year with joyful traditions which included watching all the season’s holiday classics!
Honestly I thought everyone in the world celebrated the December 24th/25th festivities until one day I was scolded by a retail customer for saying the apparent offensive greeting: “Merry Christmas”. If looks could kill, I would have suddenly been six feet under.
Not so many years after the “grinch” experience, I was once again scolded by a fellow Christian for including “Santa” in my holiday decorations. Oh the wrath!! “If you rearrange the letters it spells s-a-t-a-n”…..apparently I needed an exorcism.
But watching the classic stop-motion animation last night simply is affirmation that although “Jesus is the reason for the season” (for which is mentioned in this Rankin-Bass special), but Santa plays an important role during the Advent season as well!
Imagine if the main character in “It’s A Wonderful Life” was Santa instead of George Bailey. Well less children would be enthused about the holiday…no St. Nick – well then no animation classics like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, no baking of cookies to leave out for Santa, no Mr. Claus at the mall (then retailers have less reason for MERRY CHRISTMAS commercials – okay perhaps less commercialism would be lovely, however the “excitement” of Christmas would not be filling the air!
We believers in Christ should not be blaming jolly ol’ St, Nick for the diminishing message of “Christ is Born”, but our own-selves. It is our calling to be fishers of men (and women) and to share the “good news”. It is our responsibility to be good neighbors! We all should be on our repentant knees praying for the world to know the truth and forgiveness of our own transgressions. The church has allowed the commercialism, allowed the removal of nativity scenes, and allowed Jesus to merely be an accessory of the season. (Written with love! I include myself in the blame!)
Jesus said to “go out into the world”! (Not be the judge of the world.). And the world loves Santa Claus!! He is loved for good reason – he bears gifts, he has a joyful laugh, works all year just to bring smiles and good cheer to the people, and makes children happy!!
Every day we are bombarded with bad news! The periods between Thanksgiving and New Years Day is the one time of the year that we can put aside all the bad news and just enjoy watching our children light up with excitement! To enjoy the traditions of the season and rejoice in our own fond Christmas memories which also include Santa!
Plus the origins of Santa is indeed based on Christianity: http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/
Perhaps the “seeds” of church attendance would have still sprouted into a fully-planted believer as an adult, however the images of Santa Claus, the animated holiday classics, the fun activity of helping mom bake cookies for the jolly-round-man-in-red, and the excitement of Christmas morning to see what he had placed under the tree certainly instilled solid traditions and a stronger desire to learn the true meaning of the season! Plus remember he chose the night we honor as Jesus’ birthday to bestow us with good cheer!
So I enjoyed the fun tradition of eating sugar cookies while watching “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” last night! Tonight I think I will put in my VHS copy of “Rudolph”! Merry Christmas!!