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The First Coming of Santa

At Christmas people need to know where they will spend eternity

By Dennis Rainey

A week ago I posted the second of a two-blog series: “11 Ways To Celebrate the One Who Made Christmas Famous.”

Over lunch I stopped by the bank to make a deposit. My brief encounter with a teller further convinced me of the need for those of us who follow the Savior to make much of Jesus this Christmas season.

Because of the pandemic I went through the bank drive-through. The teller behind the thick glass window was a young man, perhaps in his late 20s or early 30s. A pleasant young man.

There were no customers in line behind me, so after he helped me with my deposit I thanked him for his work and said, “Merry Christmas. And don’t forget to celebrate the One who made Christmas famous.”

I watched his face carefully as I paused, then asked, “Do you know who made Christmas famous?”

He didn’t flinch … his answer was instant and confident as he responded, “SANTA!”

Over the past decade I’ve probably asked that question to a couple hundred people. This was the first time someone credited the jolly old man in the red suit and white beard for the holiday. Although Santa is famous, what he offers is trivial compared the first advent of the King of Kings and Creator of billions of galaxies in the universe.

I did not want to make fun of the young man or put him down, so I gently answered and said, “That’s an interesting answer … Santa is in second place, but he’s a long way from the One in first place.” I paused for a millisecond and said, “Wanna try again and maybe ask one of your co-workers?”

I watched as the young man looked to his left where another teller was seated and asked her the same question. The young lady smiled and didn’t hesitate. I could see her lips quietly pronouncing the answer: “JESUS.”

He then turned back to me and offered his second response with a hint of doubt, “Jesus?”

I affirmed his answer then added, “… and I just want to encourage you to make much of Jesus this Christmas season. Merry Christmas!”

As I drove away I thought about what felt like a missed opportunity. “Perhaps,” I thought, “I should have asked him to ‘find out why Jesus came.’”

Reflections on the first coming of Santa and Jesus

Over the past week, I’ve been reflecting on my encounter with the teller and his answer. Two thoughts come to mind.

First, the tradition of Santa’s coming gets a lot of “press” every Christmas. Parents bring their kids to perch on his lap and whisper what their greedy little hearts want him to bring them for Christmas. (Yes our grandchildren are selfish too)

My focus here is not to tackle the issues around the first coming of Santa, but I will make a couple of observations:

Whose promises really deliver? Santa’s? Or Jesus’?

Who has the authority to speak into the lives of our children and grandchildren when they go through a crisis? ANSWER: No comparison.