Daily Devotional LifeJourney Church (MCC)

Santa Claus Gets the Best Gift Ever!

May 9, 2012 • Category: Proverbs

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 15:1-7 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Tommy Chittenden):

Can’t do it. I can’t write about today’s scripture.

Not because there’s not wisdom in these seven verses. I’ve meditated on verse three for the last four days considering the thought, “God doesn’t miss a thing.” But a conversation occurred with someone in our church family this week that made me set that aside (sorry Mr. Editor) in favor of writing about a beautiful memory.

It seems these conversations take place when some of our brothers and sisters, having been raised in traditional, conservative churches, discover that the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus is coming to church to help with special events. This conversation probably happens in many other churches too, not just LifeJourney! I’m blessed that when these discussions happen here (LJC), we are all free to express our opinions, whether based on doctrinal beliefs, long-held cultural practices, and even family traditions — or just feelings about inviting Peter Cottontail or Old Saint Nick “into the church building.” We honor and respect these differences, choosing to love and value everyone who is seeking what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In 2009, while serving as an AmeriCorps member at Step-Up, Inc., I was asked if I would consider “being Santa” for the Damien Center’s Christmas Party, the annual event that brings together families who are affected by HIV/AIDS. This year the event was held at another local church. I happily agreed to play the part, but I had no idea that decision was going to have such an impact on me.

The evening began with a meal, singing, an opportunity for the children to pick gifts, and then precisely at the perfect moment, the arrival of Ol’ Saint Nick! After several minutes of “Ho-ho-ho’s” and lots of photo moments, Santa makes his way to the stage. And for the next hour, I personally beckoned for each child to come up and sit on Santa’s lap and tell what they were hoping Santa would bring them.

Close to the end of the “scheduled” time for visits with Santa, a young boy walked confidently up to me and just stood. I let out a big Santa chuckle and invited him to take a seat. I asked his name. “Jonah” he replied. “Are you having a good time tonight Jonah?” “Yes, Santa, I have been.” “And just what is it that you would like for Santa to bring you this year?”

This is “what Love looked like” in this moment for me, for this boy, and anyone who could hear the conversation.

“Santa, there are some really cool toys and games I would like to have… <short pause> …but what I would really like this year is for you to bring a cure for HIV so I know I will have my Dad with me next Christmas too.”

Have you ever seen or heard Santa praying? In my heart I am asking, “God please don’t fail me now, give me the words that will make a difference and give this young man something to hold on to.” After what seemed like hours, I looked him directly in the eyes and quietly said, “Lad, that just has to be one of the most unselfish and loving things I have ever heard from a boy your age. And that is precisely what all of Santa’s helpers are working around the world to do — and with God’s help and everyone working together, we will find a cure and your Dad will be with us for a long, long time.”

At that he hugged me and ran off the stage into the outstretched arms of his Dad. I sat there so powerfully reminded why the work I do is important. That night God used this ol’ Santa Claus to offer hope and promise to a boy who simply wanted his Dad to be in his life. Perhaps he will never forget that in a church auditorium in Indianapolis at a Christmas party, God spoke through Santa to deliver words of hope!

And so, after all is said and done, perhaps I did touch on verse three after all — because in absolute confidence, I can report that our God, who doesn’t miss a thing, didn’t miss that moment and will not let me ever forget it. On that night a 56-year-old “Santa” received one of the best gifts ever.

Thought for the day: God, may I never forget that you are the One who specializes in the impossible and that your word will not return void — even if the message is delivered by Santa Claus!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.

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