Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Do you feel inspired by this quote, as I do? Then, when you look around you, do you feel discouraged by the loss of spiritual focus in the world, by the vast consumerism and Ho-Ho-Ho Santa-Clausness that appear to be driving the ship these days? Are you disheartened to see so many secular aspects of Christmas, what seems like everybody and their uncle celebrating Xmas but not Christmas? Sometimes, to devoted Christians, it can be outright depressing.
I’m here to buoy you up, to reassure you that all is not lost.
Santa Claus may not seem to have anything whatsoever to do with our Lord Jesus Christ, and he doesn’t, really……. however let’s consider Mr Claus’ nature: the spirit behind jolly ol’ Saint Nick is not one of meanness or greed, but about love and generosity! If people are enamoured with and inspired by Santa, – that isn’t my first choice, to be certain, but it sure could be a lot worse. I have to remind myself that the Lord doesn’t only come to people through the Christian Bible and the Writings for the New Church. Those are the means with which I’m most familiar, and they may be the truest form, but He has clearly told us that He comes to different people in different ways, in ways that suit them best.
In later times when the knowledge of correspondences had been wiped out, [people] began to worship the actual carvings as being themselves holy, being unaware that their ancestors had seen no holiness in them, merely regarding them as representing holy things in accordance with their correspondences. This was the origin of the idolatries which filled so many of the world’s kingdoms. In order to root out those idolatries, it happened by the Lord’s Divine Providence that a new religion should be founded adapted to suit the character of oriental peoples….
True Christian Religion 833
If some people simply cannot wrap their brains around the Jesus thing, it’s better that they embrace and emulate Santa than someone much worse, isn’t it? This is about the ‘church universal’, as I understand it, and I’ll bet Santa’s a part of it.
There are people who think that the Lord’s church exists only in the Christian world because only there is the Lord known and only there is the Word found. Still, there are a good many people who believe that the church of God is wider, spread out and scattered through all regions of the world, even among people who do not know about the Lord and do not have the Word. They say that it is not these people’s fault and that they cannot help being ignorant. It would fly in the face of God’s love and mercy if anyone were born for hell when we are all equally human.
Divine providence 325
The Lord takes what we know and turns it to good. Take Christmas lights as another example: we see a lot of those, strung along rooftops and around trees at this time of year, not to mention the elaborate light creations that fill some people’s yards. On the one hand, we may be put off by their gaudiness and heathenly nature; on the other, though, if we consider correspondences, we might remember that light corresponds to truth, and stars to knowledges of good and truth, particularly knowledge about the Lord (AE72). With that in mind, look again out your front window: we’re utterly surrounded by representations of truth!
I wish that everyone could appreciate the Lord Jesus as our Saviour, and the Writings tell us that folks are introduced to this truth upon entering the other world, but in the meantime, it seems that we need to make our peace with the world as it actually is. The mall may be grossly packed with exorbitantly-spending shoppers, but they (by and large) aren’t buying for themselves, they’re generously buying for others. Our Griswold-esque neighbours may have blown a fuse with all their powered decorations, but still, they’re celebrating Christmas. It seems that just about everybody does ‘celebrate Christmas’ in some form or other, certainly more than just Christians, and maybe that’s actually a good thing, after all.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”