Boy—even our Santas are in trouble.

Boy—even our Santas are in trouble. At its recent conference in Philadelphia, the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas (that really is their name!) declared that their priority this Christmas is not keeping their long white facial growth curly and clean. Their number one concern is H1N1. Come to think of it—that’d be your chief concern and mine, wouldn’t it—given all the little runny-nosed tikes sitting upon your rotund lap and cheerfully coughing and sneezing straight into your cherry-cheeked face! So for this Christmas our department store, WalMart and city mall Santa Clauses have requested that they be given national priority for the swine flu vaccine. And who can counter their logic? “After all, you wouldn’t want us passing on the last kid’s nasty swine flu virus to your little cherub, now would you?”

But then again, maybe it’s not such a bad idea—being contagious at Christmas time. Can you think of a more opportune season for your contagious faith to spread to others—the others at your office Christmas party, or the others next door where you live, or the others you’ll be sitting beside for that plane ride across the country? Turns out Christmas is a glorious time to be contagious for Jesus.

And if you need a Christmas precedent for going contagious over him, how about that eighty-four year old widow prophetess named Anna. “She was very old . . . . [but] she gave thanks to God and spoke about the [Christ] child to all” (Luke 2:36-38). Because when you’re infected with joy over the promised Savior, it’s OK to spread that contagion to all who will listen to you. Just like Anna.

So this Christmas here’s your H1N1 checklist: remember to wash your hands often, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, go easy on the sweets, take along some Kleenex and grab a handful of Happiness Digest’s in our pamphlet racks by the entrances to our church. Don’t go to church at Pioneer? Then stop by your local Christian bookstore and buy some colorful pamphlets that you can contagiously spread all along your way through this joyful holiday. Catching the H1N1 can be deadly. But catching the contagious truth about Jesus will save the life of the one you infect. So go and spread him . . . with “great joy!”