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While out and about this weekend, we walked out of a restaurant in St. Pete and a billboard caught my eye. It read "Santa Claus: For the People". I found this an odd message to spend a couple thousand dollars to communicate to the masses. I started asking questions. Did I miss Santa getting a bad rap? Are there individuals in our society who have begun questioning Santa's motives? Does Santa have his boot on the throat of the elves forcing them to endure the hardships of suppression, repression, and depressions? Who felt it so important to improve the fat man's reputation they were willing to part with thousands of dollars?
So I did what any red blooded first world citizen would do, I googled it. The super array of knowledgebases spun to life and quickly imparted wisdom into my quandary. The slogan "For the People" is the tagline for Morgan and Morgan, a law firm with offices in the Tampa/St. Pete area and Atlanta. Apparently, the bearded "Santa" on the billboard is John Morgan who thought it a great ad campaign for Christmas. Suffice it to say, I just think it odd.
But the odd billboard got me thinking. With all of the condescending attitudes and judgemental responses displayed by many calling themselves Christians, perhaps we should concern ourselves with the damage we have done to God's reputation. Why do the forgiven seem to think we are better than those who have yet to accept the gift of forgiveness? We are quick to judge and condemn. While we may not stand on the corner screaming, "You are going to hell!", we are quick to withhold grace, love, and forgiveness to those we deem unworthy. And by doing so while calling ourselves Christians, we have done a disservice to God himself. Maybe it is time for the church to begin embracing the lost, the outcast, the ones Jesus himself sought out - tax collectors, prostitutes, blind, lame, the least of these. Maybe we need to start paying for billboards that say "God: For the People"