The only thing missing is a chalk outline around the figure. For when daylight comes and the air pumps are turned off, those inflatable Christmas yard decorations rather rapidly look more than just a little sad indeed, almost eliciting a “man down!” response by those who see them.
On the other hand, I have to admit that I have a certain sympathy with those deflated Santas. For life does have a way of knocking the wind out of you sometimes, and particularly at this point in the year, it’s easy to find our expectations for the season deflated as well.
It’s fairly clear, for instance, that the odds of having a white Christmas in South Texas are unfavorable at best, no matter what any of us may dream. And it’s pretty rare that anyone gets everything they may have wanted at Christmas. Likewise, whether grandmother lives “over the river and through the woods,” in another state, or just on the next block over, because of the pandemic, family gatherings may not quite take place this year as they have in times past either.
What’s more, if you’re someone who simply loves to shop, you may have found that more challenging in these days, too. Even online, in fact, it’s been reported that automatic robot programs have bought up all of the available Play Station Five systems–this year’s hottest gift–doubling the price if you really want to get one.
Then again, the original Christmas may not have been what most folks expected either. For who could have dreamed that when life was at its darkest the light of God would come to such an insignificant corner of the world, to a people whose hopes had long been almost hopelessly dashed? And while many may have been looking for the appearance of a mighty messiah who could set all things right, who would have thought He would show up as a baby?
In the end, however, Christmas is not about any of us having things just the way we want or expect them perhaps, but about discovering that the One who knows us best knows exactly what we actually need—the way, the truth, and the life– and is more than ready to give it to us.
And if, by chance, you’ve been feeling like a deflated Santa these days, maybe that can put the wind back in your sails.