The annual Santa Claus parade was always well attended. There wasn’t much to do in the small town where I grew up and community events were always a big hit. In a rural community, there was no shortage of tractors to pull floats down our short main street. Different farmers or businesses would sponsor the floats. Pretty well everyone, including churches, was represented. The main guest, Santa, was the last visitor who always gave out candy. Mostly, I just remember how cold it can be in late November. My hands still feel frozen just thinking about it.
Do you know where the Bible talks about a parade?
Historians have found that parades are a very old activity. Some have suggested that parades began with men returning from a hunting trip. They would march through the village showing off the game they had killed. Most often parades were associated with a military victory, proud soldiers returning from a campaign. As part of the spectacle, they marched their captives and slaves in front of the crowds as an act of humiliation.
The parade in the Bible? The Apostle Paul uses the imagery of a military parade to describe what Christ has done for us. “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-15)
The phrase at the end, “he made a public spectacle of them” is a reference to military parades. Jesus went to war with sin and evil, his weapon was the cross and he was victorious. He has defeated the powers of sin and death, parading them in public so that all can see. The Message Bible puts it this way, “He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.”
As the Christmas season approaches, advertisers work endlessly to get us to spend our money on the secular version of this celebration. There isn’t much to celebrate about Santa Claus bringing presents. Our hope is in Jesus, the one who was victorious. His coming to earth signaled the beginning of the end for his enemy. He alone is the one who defeated the powers of sin and death. We can trust him. Keep your eyes focused on that and don’t be distracted by all the advertising out there.