The Magic of Christmas

Learning Devotion to Christ through an Apprenticeship with Santa Claus

by David Lang (Posted: 12/11/02)


[The following devotion was originally written in 1996 for an Advent devotional produced each year by Northland Community Church in Longwood, Florida. The theme upon which contributors were to write for that year was "Developing a Stable Faith." As with all Bully Pulpit articles, the views expressed within are completely my own, and are not necessarily representative of CMUG.]

And all who heard it wondered…
—Luke 2:18

Ever since I was a kid, Christmas has always been about magic. I can remember each year my Dad would read two magical stories to me from two very magical books (they were, after all, pop-up books!) One was the story of Jesus' birth, and the other was The Night Before Christmas. The first was about that most magical of events: the birth of the Christ child in the stable, replete with shepherds, barnyard animals, wise men, and angels! The second was the magical story of Saint Nicholas, swooping down from heaven in his reindeer-drawn sleigh to fill the children’s stockings with presents! I cannot now tell you which of these stories I loved more. I know only that I loved to have each one read to me over and over again, and that to this day each one is a part of what makes my Christmases magical.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but each of these stories had a common theme. In each one, precious gifts rained down from heaven, attended with miraculous events. Angels singing, sleigh-bells ringing, cattle lowing, or reindeer soaring, it was all part of the same wonder, the same mystery, the same magic. Without question, it all prepared me for that magical night many years later when I received that wonderful gift from heaven that would change my life forever.

As I reflect on these things, I can’t help but be saddened at the thought that there are so many Christian parents out there who only teach their children the facts of Christmas, without ever letting them experience the magic of it. I know these parents are sincere and well-meaning, that they want to make sure people know that "Jesus is the reason for the season," but I wonder if they're not missing an opportunity to show their children that there's more to life than just what they can see and touch. I wonder if some of the magic of Jesus' birth is not lost on these kids because they have not served an apprenticeship with jolly ole' Saint Nick. I wonder if these kids are not developing a "stale faith" rather than a "stable faith."

A "stable faith" is one that can appreciate the magic of Christmas. It is my prayer that in our zeal for truth and theological accuracy, we Christians will not lose our sense of wonder and mystery. That, after all, is what separates true faith from mere intellectual assent.

Great Lord of wonder and mystery, give us the faith of little children, who look to the skies every Christmas Eve in anticipation of delightful treasures from heaven. Thank you for the first and best Christmas present—the gift of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

David Lang is CMUG's Content Editor. David works as a developer of Accordance Bible Software, and lives in Maitland, Florida with his wife and four children.