As I write this post, our family Christmas tree is in front of me. Peaceful Christmas music is playing in the background. It’s a reminder that we’re entering into the most wonderful time of the year.
Or are we? There are many things I love about this time of year, but there are just as many things that turn me off.
I love all our family traditions in December. I love holiday dinners. I love eggnog. (It’s ok if you don’t. I have plenty of friends who are wrong.) Mostly, I love the peace that this season can bring.
But then there’s the other side of the holiday season that makes me cringe: the fat side. Christmas gets fat on our calendars, when we feel forced to schedule way too many events. It gets fat on our wallets, with all the gifts that we think we have to buy. And yeah, Christmas isn’t usually great for our waistlines, either. (Thanks a lot, eggnog.)
But it seems that the one who is most to blame for all this holiday fatness is Santa Claus; that guy who flies all over the world, giving our kids too many presents and eating 6 billion cookies in one night. The rushing, spending, fat side of Christmas is surely his fault, isn’t it? I mean, it just can’t be a coincidence that if you rearrange the letters in “Santa,” you get “Satan!”
Actually, I don’t think Santa is to blame. Santa isn’t the problem. In reality, he is the solution!
You may not know this, but Santa wasn’t always the fat, jolly old elf that we know today. Santa got his start over 1700 years ago as a skinny pastor named Nicholas who was known for his generosity and kindness, especially toward children.
We’re going to be exploring the life of this “Skinny Santa” throughout the month of December. And what we’ll learn about the life of Santa before he bought the red suit and all those reindeer can radically impact our Christmas, and our entire lives.
In fact, during this series, we’ll be giving our people an incredible opportunity to impact many lives as we demonstrate generosity in a whole new way this Christmas season. We are sponsoring kids in our community through Empower Youth. Take the Skinny Santa challenge here.
One thing to note: we’re not here to take the imagination or the magic out of Christmas. We’ll leave it to parents to choose what they’ll teach their kids about Santa after he moved to the North Pole. (We did the Santa thing when our boys were little.) But I think we’ll all agree that the real-life truth about St. Nicholas is life-changing stuff
I can’t wait to get started. See you on Sunday!
Mike Edmisten is Lead Pastor at Connect Christian Church, which meets at 9:30 and 11 a.m. every Sunday at WT Elementary School on the east side of Cincinnati. Join us for our “Skinny Santa” Chrismas series Dec. 3, 10, 17 and 24th.