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What they want v what they need ::

One of our collection of as-yet unpublished Christmas resources.
This is written by LUKE TATTERSALL and first used Christmas 1995

Source: Author – unpublished in Perspective

I love statistics! I love to hear what RESEARCHERS can come up with when they JUGGLE NUMBERS. And I heard an interesting CHRISTMAS STATISTIC the other day.
In UNIVERSITY in AMERICA there were some RESEARCHERS who obviously had FAR TOO MUCH TIME on their hands.
What they had done was CALCULATE HOW FAST SANTA WOULD HAVE TO TRAVEL ON HIS SLEIGH to deliver presents to every child on Christmas night. They CALCULATED the SPEED the reindeer would have to travel.
Now it’s more complicated than it sounds. For a start there are
2 000 000 000 children in the world. But Santa doesn’t have to visit them all – he doesn’t have to go to HINDU, BUDDHIST, MUSLIM or JEWISH children because they don’t celebrate Christmas.

So that cuts the number back to about 92 000 000 homes.

Now if he works the different TIME ZONES around the world properly he can actually have 31 hours in which to deliver the presents. So when you divide the number of homes he has to go to by the amount of TIME he has he has it works out that he has to go to 822 homes every second.

If your kids ever ask why they don’t get to see SANTA the answer is OBVIOUS. He has to move EVERY FAST – faster than the eye can see. You think about it. He’s got just a bit over 1 000th of a second to PARK THE REINDEER, PUT THE PRESENTS UNDER THE TREE, EAT THE SNACK and GET TO THE NEXT HOUSE.

The final figure they came up with was that REINDEER have to travel about 62 400 km/h.

Now you can imagine that it would be a BIG STRUGGLE for Santa to do that each Christmas. But I don’t think he is the one with the BIGGEST STRUGGLE at Christmas.

Each year at Christmas I think it is the parents who have to face the BIGGEST STRUGGLE. They have to decide what they’re going to BUY for their kids for Christmas.

Now the “BUYING THINGS” BIT is not so bad – I like to buy things for my kids. I love to see the excitement of them opening presents.

But there is still a struggle in buying them presents. The STRUGGLE can be summed up as “WHAT THEY WANT Vs WHAT THEY NEED”.

As soon as the decorations go up in the SHOP WINDOWS my kids are telling me what they WANT for Christmas. We start counting down the days (or the sleeps until Xmas) and the LIST seems to get LONGER & LONGER. They seem to have it clearly in their mind what they WANT.

But as a PARENT it would not be right to just give them what they WANT. As a RESPONSIBLE PARENT I have to make sure that I give them what they NEED – we have to give them what is BEST for them. If I really LOVE them I will give them what they NEED rather than what they WANT.
Most kids have a hard time seeing that what they WANT may not be BEST for them.

The choice that we make as PARENTS each Christmas is SIMILAR to the decision that God made in sending Jesus on that FIRST CHRISTMAS.

At the very first Christmas God looked down on a world where there was a BIG DIFFERENCE between what the inhabitants of this world WANTED and what we NEEDED.

What we WANTED was to be INDEPENDENT of God. We wanted to live lives without bothering to consider God. We wanted to live life as though God wasn’t there.

Now God could have GIVEN us what we wanted. He could have left us alone and allowed us to SUFFER the consequences of our choice.

But God is a father who LOVES us. So rather than giving us what we WANTED at that first Christmas he gave us what we NEEDED.

What we NEEDED was to be FORGIVEN for TURNING OUR BACK on God. What we NEEDED was to be MADE RIGHT with God.

God gave us the GIFT that could do that. He sent his SON into this world for us.

Christmas is the time we remember that God – our heavenly father – has given us EXACTLY what we NEEDED.

If we want to take advantage of this WONDERFUL GIFT that God has given us in Jesus then we ACCEPT that gift by BELIEVING and PLACING OUR TRUST in Jesus.

I hope that you have a great day tomorrow and that you are able to enjoy time with your friends and family.

Most of all I hope you take time to remember the gift that God has given us in his son.

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Christmas and Easter are THE big preaching opportunities for most churches – which is why they have their very own section at Perspective.

This section is a little different to the others. Here, you will find many cut ‘n’ paste, ready to go out of the box resources for those two times of the year when we find good numbers of non-church people coming to our meetings.
Again, the caveat applies: Don’t be tempted to grab a Christmas talk from here and simply read it out at your church. Rather, see these as sources of good ideas, structures and stories that you can readily adopt and integrate into your own creations.

As always, contributions are encouraged. See the Contact page for how to submit your resources.