Santa hanging out of an inflatable caravan? Our neighbours in the next street had a sense of humour. At least, I hope they did, because the next morning Santa and his caravan were lying on the grass looking very deflated.
Maybe that happens to our childhood dreams too. My Dad would cut branches from the Athol trees and bring them inside for Christmas. Grandma’s house was filled with relatives, festive food, songs around the piano, presents under the tree. But it never feels quite the same when you grow up to find yourself making the preparations, cooking the food, and cleaning up the wrappings. Santa got lost in the transition from what you might get to what you might give.
Have you considered Christmas from the Giver’s perspective? What was it like for the Father of humanity? For unto us a son is given (Isaiah 9:6).
What was it like for the omnipresent creator to deflate himself into creaturely life, limited in space and time? What was it like for the omnipotent sovereign to take a servant role? What was it like for omniscient planner to become vulnerable in a world dominated by evil? He emptied himself, down to the form of a slave. He took on the likeness of humanity, in human form. He became obedient to the point of death, even the ignominious torture of a cross (Philippians 2:7-8).
Why? What was the point of deflating himself to live as one of us in this deadly realm?
The goal was divine government: To us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders (Isaiah 9:6).
This is good news:
Philippians 2:9–11 (NIV)
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Isaiah 9:7 (NIV)
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
That’s what makes Christmas worth celebrating. The gift of the Son gives us reason to persevere through the tough times. God’s government is arriving in the King who transforms the world, in the kingdom that recognizes his reign.