I confess I have a lump in my throat. Call me a sap. I don’t care. Saint Nicholas, a Christian saint, is a model of kindness and thoughtfulness. Conveying the message of God’s surprising and all-surpassing grace, Santa Claus’ mysterious generosity has provided ongoing witness across generations. It has spanned cultures around the globe. He was moved to share with others the good news that was given to him: God loves you more than you can ever measure.
A friend sent me a poem the week before Christmas, in the first year of the new millennia. My wife was pregnant with our first child. I tucked it into our copy of “The Night Before Christmas” where it has been for 20 years. On every Christmas Eve we have shared it with our children as we tuck them into bed, along with the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem in Chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke. Allow me to share it with you.
The sleigh was all packed, the reindeer were fed,
but Santa still knelt by the side of his bed.
“Dear Father,” he prayed, “Be with me tonight.
There’s much work to do and my schedule is tight.
I must jump in my sleigh and streak through the sky,
knowing full well that a reindeer can’t fly.
“I will visit each household before the first light.
I’ll cover the world and all in one night.
With sleigh bells a-ringing, I’ll land on each roof,
amid the soft clatter of each little hoof.
To get in the house is the difficult part,
so I’ll slide down the chimney of each child’s heart.
My sack will hold toys to grant all their wishes.
The supply will be endless like the loaves and the fishes.
I’ll fill all the stockings and not leave a track.
I’ll eat every cookie that is left for my snack.
“I can do all these things, Lord, only through you!
I just need your blessing, then it’s easy to do.
All this to honor the birth of the ONE,
that was sent to redeem us, Your most Holy Son.
So to all of my friends, lest Your glory I rob,
please Lord, remind them who gave me this job.”
May you have an illuminated Advent and a wonder-filled Christmas. And may God bless us every one.
REV. MICHAEL KENDALL is lead pastor of Farmville United Methodist church. He can be reached at email@example.com.