I have long annoyed members of my family by believing a different story about who comes down the chimney and leaves gifts on Christmas eve. I was never a fan of Santa Claus. I found him creepy—all that facial hair and inviting you to sit on his lap. In light of the epidemic of sexual harassment who needs him?
I’ve known for years that it is the Baby Jesus who comes down the chimney and leaves gifts. Yes, really. Save your breath. I’ve heard all the arguments:
“He’s a baby, his delicate skin would get shredded!”
“He’s too small to even hold a present.”
“He would freeze to death!”
Oh, come on. He’s a baby but he’s God. He’s Divine, protected. No amount of soot, ash or spiders could possibly bother him. Besides, he and his Father/Mother created all that. His Divine baby hands are capable of holding anything. Don’t worry about him getting cold—he generates his own heat. Just look at that painting of Jesus with his heart on fire. He was born like that!
I love this story because it keeps Jesus in the picture. His birth is the one we celebrate and he is the one who gives us gifts—all year long. He doesn’t have a list that he checks twice to see if you’re naughty or nice or, like most of us, somewhere in-between. He’s there for anyone and everyone all the time.
I see him landing in the fireplace, sniffing around and then saying, “Clearly this family needs a little Peace. I’ll leave some of that.” So he leaves Peace and then sprinkles the room with some Joy. Because there are a couple kids in the family, he’ll leave a huge amount of Wonder.
Each place is different. So maybe at the next house, he’ll set a huge box of Compassion under the tree and a suitcase full of Forgiveness. In another place he fills the living room with Comfort and adds individual servings of Peace for each person.
At yet another, there is no fireplace! Oh, Holy Night! Now what? The Baby Jesus slides under the door—easy-peasy. Maybe this place is dark and lonely. So the Baby Jesus brings gifts of Light and Friendship. Friendship? Am I telling you that he becomes friends with you? Well, yes and no. First, we all know and love that hymn, “What A Friend We Have In Baby Jesus.” So we can’t deny that.
Second, you know how Santa has helpers? So does the Baby Jesus! This should not be a news flash: we are his helpers. So when he leaves the gift of friendship for someone, we get to participate in that gift. We become that friend.
The very cool Christmas Mystery is that we may not even know that our new friendship was a gift left by the Baby Jesus! And we won’t know if the gift was left for us or our friend! Sneaky Jesus.
Every place gets some Love although not everyone sees that. Maybe they don’t take in enough Comfort so they are blind to the Love. Some just outright refuse Comfort. The Baby Jesus doesn’t mind. If he suspects this he’ll leave extra Love just to get these people through to January 2nd.
It isn’t necessary to leave cookies for him although one year I did. I left some Rice Krispy Treats and York peppermint patties on the hearth. The next morning the Rice Krispy Treats were there but the peppermint patties were gone. Although I know since he is Divine, the Baby Jesus could eat a steak if I left it out, I had to wonder if perhaps the peppermint patties were just a tad easier.
Here’s the best thing about knowing it’s the Baby Jesus and not Santa Claus: No one can say to you, “There’s no such thing as the Baby Jesus.”
Well, they can say that to you and all you have to do is say, “Really? Then in whose religion did “Claus” become a saint?” That’s right. Baby Jesus started it all.
So if you find yourself overwhelmed with the madness and stress that has become the modern Christmas, don’t hesitate to call on the Baby Jesus. He is, after all, the Prince of Peace.