“. . . as aliens and strangers . . . keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles.” (1 Peter 2:11-12)
Over the years my appearance has changed from a slim, young man to a well-rounded, older man—with a white beard. Add to this visage rosy cheeks from cold weather and a dark red stocking cap from my wife to bring warmth to my thinning white hair and you see a striking resemblance to Jolly Old St. Nick. So, Christmas shopping and dining trips dressed like this brings me stares from young children as if they were seeing some kind of “alien”—a being from another place and time yet somehow familiar to them!
Once dressed like this while eating dinner at a popular restaurant after holiday shopping, I noticed a young girl staring at me and whispering something to her mother. She eventually got up, walked over, and asked if I were the “real” Santa Claus. I smiled and spoke softly, “Mrs. Claus and I are out on a date before I make my long trip. I would appreciate it if you would keep this between us. It might cause a fuss if everyone knew who I am. Are you being a good girl for mom and dad tonight?” She smiled and nodded vigorously as her mother mouthed, “Thank you!” The young lady touched my hand as if to ascertain I was “real” then returned to her family.
Believers in Jesus Christ should struggle with the whole “Santa Claus” dilemma—living like beings from another place and time yet somehow still familiar to others because of our “good deeds.” That evening I looked like an “alien” to that young girl, yet I tried to act with a gentle and jolly disposition for her sake (1 Peter 2:12). God expects His followers to interact with the rest of the world in a way that is observable and good—like aliens, yet good ones. Let the world see that we are different; let them know we are “aliens” because of our relationship with the Christ of Christmas!
Dr. Skip Hessel, Chief Development Officer