Christmas is first and foremost a religious observance in my house. It is a time to celebrate the birth of our Saviour. There are not enough hours in the day for all the Christmas carols to be sung, all the special church services to be attended, all the friends and family to be visited, and all the prayers of praise and thanks to be offered. Still, somehow, we manage a little time to visit with jolly old Saint Nick, and I would truly miss him if he didn't stop in.
Lots of folks these days have decided that Santa Claus is operating in direct opposition to Christmas and the reasons we celebrate this holy day. Whether or not others like or dislike Santa Claus makes no difference to me. I would like to point out that the earliest stories and legends of Saint Nick portray him as a man of God, a poor man who decided to celebrate Christmas by giving gifts to local boys and girls. This man seems to have been purely motivated by love, his only thanks in the smiles and happiness of the children.
In my book, that would make Santa Clause an example of Christ. God gave His most precious jewel, His Son, to us because of His love for us, and all we can do is accept this gift (though some reject it) with joy and thanks.
One of my favorite Christmas decorations of all time is a nativity scene with Joseph, Mary, the baby in the manger, and kneeling by the manger with his head bowed is a jolly old man with a white beard dressed in a red suit. It's all about balance and priorities -- Christ first.
So tonight I'll put on my favorite nightie, jump into bed and get those sugarplums dancing in my head. Santa will pay his yearly visit and leave me something pretty to open on Christmas morning. Sunday morning I'll be in church, again celebrating the reason for the season.