Several years ago Phillip Bump wrote an article for The Atlantic that examined the Christmas Eve workload of the jolly old elf. Using data from the CIA, Bump focused his article on Santa’s deliveries to the world’s 526,000,000 Christian kids 14 years of age and younger.
To get a present to all of these kids, Bump determined that Santa would need to deliver presents at a rate of 22 million kids an hour for the 24 hours of Christmas Eve. If you run the figures on your calculator, you’ll find that equates to 365,000 kids a minute or about 6,100 a second. Not to worry though, we are talking about Santa.
Do you remember your perceptions of Christmas and Santa when you were a child? Did your eager anticipation of Christmas consume you?
I remember how quickly I would hurry home after school, so I could watch Santa’s Workshop in black and white on an old TV. The days from Thanksgiving to Christmas would pass by with the agonizing speed of a turtle.
As a child, I thought Christmas would never come; and, truthfully, I gave very little thought to its significance. The desire that I had for the brightly wrapped gifts carefully placed beneath the bright lights and icicles hanging on the Christmas tree, had little to do with the Christ of Christmas.
So, what is Christmas? It certainly isn’t big box stores opening on Thanksgiving Day, or the pushing, shoving, and elbowing of frenzied shopping. Christmas is the birth of Hope. It is a time to step away from the hustle and bustle of the mobs and the malls to find a moment of solitude to reflect on the miracle of the manger.
Christmas is that day long ago when Jesus stepped down from the glories of heaven to be born in a lowly manger; to live a sinless life; to die the death of the cross; to rise again on the third day; and to return to heaven to intercede on our behalf.
The essence of that babe from Bethlehem is summarized by Paul in the colorful language of I Timothy 3:16:
Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: Jesus appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
May you have a Merry Christmas is my wish for you.