In my line of work I come across lots of interesting ingredients and culinary combinations that invariably cannot be included in the weekly soul food feast on Sundays. So from time to time I like to take these unutilized portions of sermon prep and offer them as mid-week snacks. Snack time today consists of a rundown of the differences between Kris Kringle and Jesus of Nazareth.
- Kris is not interested in being your friend. He only comes around once-a-year! Perhaps you’re saying to yourself, “That’s not too shabby, I don’t even see my old college roommates that frequently.” But here’s the deal, when Kris comes around he demands that you be asleep, and he’s adamant that you not see, or interact, with him. Jesus, on the other hand, is all about friendship! Even though He infinitely outranks us, and even though He is inescapably intimidating …He insists on having us in His life as close, personal, friends of His (John 15:5). And Jesus isn’t interested in a sporadic friendship, but rather He wants to be with us always (Matthew 28:20); He will settle for nothing less than a wholistic, life-dominating, friendship (Luke 5:34).
- Back to Kris. Perhaps you’re wondering, “What’s Kris up to? Why is he sneaking into my house in the middle of night? Is he stealing from me?” Well, Kris does take cookies from your house, but we can’t really accuse him of kleptomania seeing as how we elect to put cookies out for him on the night he comes. It’s worth noting that this ‘home invasion’ habit is perhaps the closest area of commonality between Kris and Jesus …neither of them shy away from the appearance of being a ‘thief in the night’ (Luke 12:39-40). But the fact of the matter is, they don’t come around to rob you …they have far more subversive motives. Kris’s agenda is to hook you on hoarding. Like a drug dealer, he operates with a “first one’s free” approach. His aim is to get you addicted to, and keep you hooked on, material stuff. He infiltrates your home to sow the seed of ‘something sparkly, shiny, and new,’ and his ambition is to see that seed spread into a hoardrific sprawling forest of materialism. Jesus, on the other hand, invades your life to liberate you from the enticements and enslavement to ’stuff.’ Jesus invites you into the joy of generosity, and He enlists you into an enlivening war against greed (Luke 12:33-34).
- Kris bewitches us with short-lived pleasures in order to inoculate us against true goodness. Perhaps you’ve heard his propaganda, “he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” Kris seduces us with his goodie bag of sundry ‘Turkish delights,’ telling us all we have to do is “be good” and we’ll be sated. Every December we play his game, and every January we are depressed. Jesus offers us no nonsense about “being good for goodness sake,” rather Jesus says, “No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18). Jesus disabuses us of the notion that we could earn or merit true treasure, and instead He requires us to rely on His goodness performed on our behalf (John 6:29), and insists that we receive our everlasting treasure as an inheritance (Matthew 25:34). And, finally, Jesus doesn’t accomplish perfection and infinite atonement for “goodness sake”, He lives, dies, rises, ascends, and returns for the sake of His Father’s glory (John 17:4-5).