Advent: 5 December (Nthato)
The below has been written by my good friend Nthato. You can find more of his work over here
I amble through fluorescent lit hallways, of a local mall bustling with the activity of ants at a picnic area. A burly fellow in a thick red suit and bristling white beard draping to his chest, smiles amiably as kids rush to sit on his lap. Its boiling hot and everyone is in short sleeves, yet no one questions the woolly suit of the patron saint of reindeers, presents and frequent flyer miles.
Saint Nikolaos of Myra was known for his habit of secret gift-giving, dropping coins in the shoes of those who left them out. Today, it is no longer a gift but more an expectation and not one done out of the goodness and kindness of one’s heart, but out of obligation.
When we think of the free gift of salvation that God offers, one we do not deserve nor is He obligated to give, our current perspective of Christmas moves contrary to that. We no longer celebrate the birth of a Saviour who would gift us His life and perfection when we do not deserve it.
Instead we celebrate a tradition of giving where we have been raised to believe we deserve the gifts. Where we judge our own goodness, present it to this false icon, and deem ourselves worthy. That is not how it should work when “the heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9) and when “there is none who does good, there is not even one.” (Rom 3:12).