Patti Armstrong is an award-winning author and was the managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’ bestselling Amazing Grace series. Her latest books are: Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families and Dear God, You Can’t Be Serious. She has a B.A. in social work and an M.A. in public administration and worked in both those fields before staying home to work as a freelance writer. Patti and her husband live in North Dakota, where they are still raising the tail end of their 10 children.
When St. Nicholas morphed into Santa Claus, it was a secular way to take the joy of Christmas and trim off the religion. Santa’s a great guy, but he’s not half the man St. Nicholas was. Just as humanism has much goodness to it, without God at the center, it’s missing the core.
We can soak in all the goodness of the world, and then go deeper with Jesus. In the spirit of the Christmas season, I’ve put together two lists; one from Santa’s workshop just for fun and one from Jesus’s manger, for our faith.
Advice from Santa’s Workshop
- A bowl full of jelly is happy food.
- Red is not slimming, but it helps to make your presents known.
- Keep lists.
- Believe in yourself and others will too.
- Leave climbing on the roof to experts.
- Ask people what they want and they’ll line up to speak with you.
- Give people what they want, and they’ll believe in you.
- Black boots are always in.
- To avoid junk mail, give your address as the North Pole.
- Laugh and the world laughs with you—ho, ho, ho!
Advice from Jesus’s Manger
- St. Nicholas is one of God’s helpers—all the saints are.
- You don’t have to wait in line to talk to Jesus. He’s always there for you.
- A few cookies on a plate for a hungry friend are a good start towards the Corporal Work of Mercy of feeding the hungry.
- Don’t look down on scraggly looking shepherds, God chose them first to welcome his Son.
- Avoid being naughty, not for presents but for eternal presence in Heaven.
- No one will ever have to give you “the talk” about Jesus.
- Being born in a barn is nothing to be ashamed of.
- When you come across someone without the Christmas spirit, pray for him and you will both be blessed.
- Christmas isn’t about getting; it’s about giving. Even Santa knows that.
- Jesus can make it to every house all in one night—365 nights a year.
Santa—if he were real—would be superhuman. Jesus—who is real—is supernatural. They both bring joy but one is eternal and the other is just for a season. We need not look under the tree to find the true gift of Christmas—the babe, the son of Mary.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).
May the love, peace and joy of Christmas fill your heart with Christmas gladness and shine onto everyone you meet.