Rev. Matthias Tepper shared this photo and story. Rev. Tepper is an Alliance missionary serving in Brussels, Belgium and is supported by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belgium (ELKB) and the Independent Evangelical – Lutheran Church (SELK) located in Germany.
“Dressed up as Santa Claus I’m going out to the shopping streets and Christmas market. The costume attracts a lot of attention. People, adults and kids alike, like to have their pictures taken with me or ask me if I have brought them a gift. I engage them in a discussion asking them why we celebrate Christmas, what the reason is for the holiday?
“You can imagine that people don’t know what Epiphany or Pentecost is about. Even some Christians have trouble remembering what those are about. But you’d think that the majority in Europe know what Christmas is about. Well, it seems like that that is not the case. I have heard crazy answers from “I really don’t know!” to family, gifts, good food, fun, tradition. [I say] We celebrate the birth of Jesus. I then tell them why it was necessary for God’s Son to be born, our sinfulness, and what He has done for us: Bringing peace, love and forgiveness with God and the gift of everlasting life.
“We went out with a group of 25 Santas. That was a lot of fun, singing carols in the pedestrian zones and at the Christmas markets, talking to the people, spreading joy and the truth of Christ.
“This is hard work! First of all, it is very hot in the suit, especially under the nylon beard, wig and hat! Hair gets in your mouth, your glasses fog up at times.
Then also, people look at you funny.
“Talking to people is fun, but exhausting, doing it all in French, Dutch, English and sometimes German; with my heart reaching out to theirs with the burning desire to see them come to believe in my Lord Jesus. Nevertheless, I’m going back. Even if I make a fool out of myself with the costume, a cause nobler than spreading the good news of Christ I cannot think of.”