Jesus and Santa

“I can’t wait for Christmas!!!”  My granddaughter blurted out to the clerk restocking the shelves at the grocery store. The clerk responded with, “Have you been good this year so Santa will come?” Arianna looked a little confused and then answered,  “Santa’s not real, God’s real.” Now it was the clerk’s turn to be confused. Not knowing just what to say I smiled, and we moved on down the aisle.

I thought about the conversation all the way home. I don’t think of Santa as evil, but Jesus is so much better.

Santa keeps a list of who is naughty or nice. The theory is he only visits those who have been good. We use it to motivate kids to cooperate with us those last weeks before Christmas or those gifts aren’t going to show up.

Jesus, on the other hand, came knowing we weren’t nice. We needed a Savior who could save us from our sin. (Matt. 1:21) His coming depended on God’s goodness, not our goodness.

Santa supposedly leaves a lump of coal to those who don’t measure up. Jesus offers complete forgiveness and has taken the punishment we deserve by dying in our place.

Santa lives forever to keep track. Jesus now lives forever to intercede for us before God. (Romans 8:34)

Santa shows up one day a year. Jesus has promised to never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5b-6)

But the most important difference between Santa and Jesus is the one Arianna pointed out so simply. “Santa isn’t real …God is real!” It is fun to pretend, but my belief in God isn’t a fantasy. It is something I have staked my life on. So as you celebrate Christmas this year remember it is about a Savior, not a Santa.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Now that’s something to be excited about!


Christmas Mourning

This is a post from two years ago. I know some people who have lost family members this Christmas season and wanted to encourage them. (You know who you are.)


I  wrote this poem six years ago after the death of my mother.  My prayer is that it brings comfort to many who find the Christmas season difficult.




How to separate the good from the bad.


Be merry when you feel like crying.

Concentrate on Christmas.

Joy to the World…

My Mom just died

The Lord is Come…

She really is better off

Let Earth receive her king…

I had been saying good-bye to her this year already.

Let every heart…

Oh, my heart hurts.

Prepare Him room…

Get ready to celebrate Christmas.

And heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing,

And heaven and heaven and nature sing.


Could God have felt like this that first Christmas?

God’s gift meant the death of His Son.

Joy to the World…

His much loved Son would die.

The Lord is Come…

The World would be better off.

Let Earth receive her king…

God was prepared for this.  He had planned it.

Let every heart…

Oh, His heart must have hurt.

Prepare Him room…

Get ready to celebrate Christmas.

And heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing,

And heaven and heaven and nature sing.


Karen Pickering – December 2007

Christmas Imperfection

The year is almost over.  I had reserved this date to give you a glowing report with pictures of how beautiful our Christmas Eve was.  Here were my plans.

A month ago I had built a campfire with wood that was too big for our fireplace.  Imagining we would have loads of snow by Christmas I carefully covered it with a tarp.  I envisioned us huddling around the campfire on Christmas Eve, reading the Christmas story and singing “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night”. I even went so far as to order paper Chinese lanterns. the kind that have a small fuel cell. When lit they would gently lift into the sky to represent the angels who had visited the shepherds.  It would be magical.  The grandkids would always remember it and we would be swept away with the wonder of that first Christmas.

Now for the real story.

What little snow we had was now gone. It looked like Christmas would be warm and muddy.

The paper lanterns arrived.  I had ordered 11. I wanted a multitude of heavenly hosts!! My husband suggested we light one of the lanterns in the daylight so we could do it more smoothly in the dark. When I opened one of the packages I was stunned with how large it was. It was about 4 ft. tall and half as wide. We carefully took it out into our side yard which is surrounded by 40 ft. evergreens. There didn’t seem to be any wind, which was good. The package warned against lighting them in windy conditions. It also warned against using them within 5 miles of an airport. Hmmm. Maybe I had gotten in over my head. (The word Danger was written more than once on the package too. It should have been a clue.) We carefully held the lantern on its side and lit the fuel cell. Once it was burning vigorously we turned it right side up. Within a couple of minutes it was tugging to escape our grasp. I imagined it would gently rise, hover awhile and then slowly come back to earth when the fuel was used up. My husband told me to let go and it lifted 5 feet…15 feet…and was soon higher than we imagined. It did a couple of summersaults but righted itself both times. We tried following it, but it was soon soaring higher and faster than we could keep up with. It soon completely disappeared into the mist. Thankfully it was a drizzly day so any danger of fire was minimized. We just stood staring at the sky wondering what to do. Now that it is a week later and there have been no reports of a barn fire started by a mysterious flaming object, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Well, at least we had the campfire. Unfortunately on Christmas Eve night there was a steady drizzle. No fire that night.


We ended up trying to light the fire Christmas afternoon. After spending at least 30 minutes working on the fire it fizzled out. I went in discouraged. My son-in-law finally got it started after using some mystery ingredients.

The grandkids (ages 4, 5 & 8) were very excited and started pretending they were shepherds.  They screamed a few times around the campfire (being afraid of the angels) and then walked around the meadow twice following the path to the star, which was placed conveniently on our house. IMG_0454_edited-1

They told the Christmas story to each other and even sang a little as they went. Their version was more exciting than mine would have been.

After supper they went out with a multitude of glow sticks to enjoy the fire some more.


I tried taking pictures, but they didn’t stand still long enough for them to be in focus. I guess that means they were enjoying themselves. All of the pictures of Christmas I took this year are blurry.

I’m suspecting if there had been a photographer that first Christmas his pictures would have also been blurry. Too much excitement. Too much activity. Nice pictures are made when everyone is sitting still and even a little bored. So these pictures aren’t going to win any prizes, but they give you a glimpse into our very imperfect, busy, excitement filled Christmas. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Here’s hoping your Christmas was less than you wanted and more than you expected.


In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, watching their flock during the night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Then the angel told them, “Stop being afraid! Listen! I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people. Today your Savior, the Lord Messiah, was born in the city of David. And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” Suddenly a multitude of the Heavenly Army appeared with the angel, praising God by saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to people who enjoy his favor!” (Luke 2:8-14  ISV)