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The lesson of the Santas

March 21, 2014

A couple of days ago my wife and I, as part of a day of casual shopping, visited a huge store called “The Christmas Place.”  Its specialty, as you might imagine, is the selling of Christmas decorations.  My thought was that in March, some 281 days from Christmas, it would probably be quite empty.


The place was crawling with shoppers.  Perhaps some of them were like us, planning to slip in expecting few others to be there.  But some were clearly hard-core Christmas fans.  My first notice of this was when I saw a guy my age that looked like Santa Claus in jeans and a flannel shirt.  He had the full white beard and everything.  A few minutes later I saw another Santa look-alike.  Then another.  Then another.  Two of these guys had their wives with them and they both did pretty good Mrs. Claus imitations too.

I was quite mystified by the Santa parade and wondered absently if the old guy, rather than building all his Christmas stuff in some North Pole workshop, just sent out a bunch of clones to buy what was needed; sort of like the ultimate outsourcing.  In the end I decided that they just really liked looking like Santa and, as much as we like Christmas, my wife and I were not in their league.  They were all cheery and outgoing Christmas buffs who loved looking like Santa 24/7/365.

At the end of our time there my wife had picked up a few things to stash away for Christmas and we went to check out and leave, bemused by the whole Santa parade.  It was at the checkout counter that we had our second surprise.  We got behind a woman who had a massive cartload of elves and assorted elfish decorations.  The cart was just overflowing.

Normally getting stuck in a checkout line behind a big order is annoying but this was fascinating.   The woman was bouncing with excitement over her purchases.  She cheerily informed us that for several years now she had decorated her house every Christmas with a snowman theme; each room in the house was overflowing with snowmen of all sorts.  But she had decided that this year she was switching to an elf theme.  This shopping trip was round one of her year-long quest to have enough to make her house wall-to-wall elves.  As the cashier told her the total, some $1,400 worth of elves, she barely batted an eyelash.

Say what you will about these folks there was one stand-out characteristic they all shared.  They were happy with, and excited to share about, their love for Christmas.  If you loved them or thought they were a little crazy didn’t seem to matter and, whether you wanted to join them or not, you had to admit it was sort of fun to be around them.

They made no attempt to try and talk us into being just like them.  The guys didn’t come up to me and suggest that, with my white hair, that if I let it and my beard grow I too could look like Santa.  The women made no attempt to get my wife to load up on elves.  They just let us, and everyone else, see who they were and what they loved. What we did with it was not really their problem.  I suspect that, if asked, they could give us pointers on how to be like them but what they did best was demonstrate the joy they felt in what they believed.

You see where I am going, right?  What if evangelism looked like that?  What if our “method” was living in a flat-out demonstrable joy of being in love with a God who loves us right back, not caring if anyone else thought we were nuts?  What if the only thing we needed to do was to “always [be] prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”?


From → Christianity

  1. I always thought that was what it was supposed to be like. But people kept telling me different. . .

  2. Exactly. I think we over-complicate evangelism and turn it into an enterprise complete with methodology,rules, goals and objectives.

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