Jim Bortell emailed me to tell me that Vaughn Hoffman had used the anecdote below in his sermon at Wesley UMC in Bloomington, IL last Sunday. I like Vaughn a lot; he was called to preach out of the UMC in Hoopeston, IL, where I pastored. I like Jim a lot, too, but it really was not necessary for him to say that when Vaughn mentioned my name as the author, the congregation did NOT stand and cheer. Nonetheless, here is my annual repeat of the prescient wisdom of my granddaughter.
This is a repost from 12-25-14.
CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©
One way or another, I tell this story every Christmas…
As Christmas approached when granddaughter Brigid was about four year old, she said to her mother, “You know, Santa and Grandpa are a lot alike. Santa has a bald head, and Grandpa has a bald head. Santa has a white beard, and Grandpa has a white beard. Santa brings toys, and Grandpa brings toys. But Grandpa is better, because he stays and plays.”
That is the message of Christmas. God is not just some Santa, making a quick stop on the roof to throw some toys down the chimney and then hurrying on.
In Jesus, the Christ, God stays and plays.
John Robert McFarland
The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]
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