Monday, December 24, 2007

Jesus Claus is Coming to Town

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. - John 15:7
This time of year, we start hearing in Christian circles phrases like "Remember the reason for the season." It's designed to dislodge our minds from the holiday routine of buying presents, decorating houses, and seeing St. Nick at the mall. As a new dad, I'm wrestling with whether to introduce Santa to my daughter -- is it simply fun or something that distracts from Christ's birth? But, the real question I've realized is how much I've confused Jesus with Santa in my own heart. At times, it feels like I pray this way:

Dear Jesus Claus,

You know I've been very good this year. So, I would like the following from you:
  • My daughter to grow up strong and healthy.
  • Patience at my job.
  • Healing for a family member.
  • More energy to get things done around the house.
I look forward to waking up tomorrow morning to see what you've brought me while I was asleep.

Love, Mike

PS: I wouldn't turn down a flat-screen TV, either. :)
Okay, it's not that obvious, but isn't it just as plain? I try to obey his laws, so I expect him to answer my prayers. And by answer, I mean just do something in the background without actually interrupting my life. Just down the chimney and back up again before I wake.

And yet, in this passage, he opens with "If you remain in me". Though I know it in my head, I forget in my actions that I should be much more focused on God's presence than on His presents.
Lord God, please help me to see you as you really are, not as some sort of spiritual Santa. Create in my heart a desire to pursue you and not your blessings. And when you do bless me, may my gratitude draw me even closer to you.

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