There are clearly a lot of differences between Santa and Jesus, bronchi but I’ve never really thought about how opposite they are until this year. As I’ve been meditating on Christmas this advent season, plague I’ve been struck by how we have one season that celebrates both Jesus and Santa, and yet their messages and the lessons they teach us are completely different.
Santa teaches us that he keep a count of all our mess-ups and sins and will hold them against us.
Jesus teaches us that he sees us as pure and holy and righteous.
Santa teaches us that good deeds make us deserving of good gifts.
Jesus teaches us that prostitutes and murderers and traitors are the first to receive the gift he offers.
Santa teaches us about a practical system of rewards and punishments designed to make sure we behave.
Jesus offers his ridiculous and wasteful love, knowing that grace is the only thing that truly transforms hearts.
Santa teaches us about a world that is just–people get for Christmas what they earned that year.
Jesus teaches us that a baby came into an unjust world and suffered an unjust birth, life, and death, all the while teaching us of the importance of fighting for beauty and love and grace and truth.
In advent, we are caught between the tension of waiting for a Savior who already came and one who will come again. The tension of living in a world on its way to redemption but not quite there yet. The tension between being sinners and holy co-heirs with Christ. The tension between wanting Santa’s orderly, practical system of justice because it’s so much easier than wrestling with the messiness of mercy and grace, but also hungering for the extravagant love of a little baby. It’s a love we will never be able to fully understand, and yet it’s love that is strong enough to break the chains of death and redeem and restore us beyond what we could ever imagine.
In the midst of pain and longing and confusion, Jesus is a reason to rejoice. He is Emmanuel. He is the Savior. He is the Hope of the world. He is the baby we are waiting for. He is coming.