There is only one genuine Father Christmas

There is only one genuine Father Christmas


I was afraid! I should have said no. The real Santa was under no threat from my impersonation. It didn’t help that my costume lacked any features identifiable with the venerable present deliverer. I had a green hat! The audience were a baying mob of eight year old school children. “What is your house like?” “What are the names of all your reindeer?” I had never thought it neccessary to put this kind of knowledge to memory. I was outed! 


“You are not the real Father Christmas!”, the loudest boy shouted as he stood up in the pew and pointed at Santa’s slowly descending beard. My humiliation was complete. There is only one genuine Father Christmas, and he was not me!


I wonder, when we meet Jesus how do we know it is him? If he appeared in front of us, what questions would we ask to test him? What would we expect of him? Jesus was born in the normal filth of life, not a palace. Can we believe he could live in us, even though we are not clean and sorted? Jesus was not born a superhero but a fragile baby. Can we believe he wants us to be vulnerable and in need of his love, rather than pretending to be strong?


I like to think I would make space for Mary and Joseph, room for Jesus, a place in a dirty stable for him to be born. But the truth is, like most people I am busy. Busy buying presents. Busy making everything perfect. Busy.. just busy!


This Christmas, will Jesus appear to us; fragile, vulnerable, full of promise? Will we be caught off guard, stumble into the stable by starlight? Will we recognise the genuine Jesus as we run the Christmas preparation marathon?


I hope not to appear a poor Christian impersonator, all slipping beard and green Santa hat. Instead I pray that I might carry his peace, hope and love in a world which desperately needs to hear the angels cry, “Do not be afraid”.