Minister's Minute: Santa needs a new image

The Coca Cola image of Santa has become so engrained in our North American expectation of Christmas that it poses a bit of a quandary I have been caught up in over the past number of years. My long white beard might have something to do with it, I guess.

I don’t wish to express a “Grinchly” perspective but I thought a brief public reflection might cause some to have thoughtful conversations over the next few weeks about the images that are central to the meaning and reason for Christmas.

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A few years ago I was given a fun canvas red lettered wall hanging that outlined The Four Stages of Life

*** 1. You believe in Santa Claus. 2. You don’t believe in Santa Claus. 3. You are Santa Claus. 4. You look like Santa Claus.

Perhaps it was given because I meet all four stages of life, at least by this standard.

Having now donned the red suit for a few community-based events, I find myself caught up in considering the message it sends. It brings fun and smiles to many faces, but truly the image I would prefer to project, if a Santa image is to be involved, is the one of Santa kneeling at the manger which holds Jesus, the Christ Child. The first Christmas was the greatest gift given to the world, the Incarnation, God enfleshed to live among us.

I may not choose to change the fourth stage of life, but I can be clear of my true focus image of Christmas.

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