Ho Ho Ho! It could be jolly old St. Nick that comes to mind. Or it could be us laughing at some of the legends that are associated with the real St. Nicholas. Indeed, some are far fetched. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2004/nick.html Legends, of course, most often include a body or collection of such stories believed to be historical. Often romanticized.
Before I go to Nicholas, allow me to embellish another legendary figure, Zig Ziglar. I was privileged to be a member of First Baptist Dallas in the 1980s. For two years, I sat along with almost 1000 other folks on Sunday mornings, enjoying the class taught by Zig, the master motivator.
There may never be anyone quite like Zig, who died just over a year ago. His remarkable success as a cookware-salesman-turned-sales-trainer has inspired thousands. His materiel of books and recordings were best sellers. And remain so.
In this season of giving, Zig gave us too many gems to count. One of his best lines was, “You can get everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want!” He was zealous in helping people overcome “stinkin’ thinkin’." His wit was matched often with humor, as in "Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking tartar sauce with you."
(Side note: If somehow you have missed out on the experience of time with Zig Ziglar, you can find his materials at ziglar.com. YouTube has videos clips of his for free viewing as well. Anyone in sales should catch the Ziglar magic. You’ll be better off for it.)
One of the greatest gifts from Zig was the sharing of his faith. Those who were new to his adult class at First Baptist Dallas got an invite to his home. Pretty special. It was there you would hear about his most important relationship: the spiritual one with Jesus. Each person would receive a gift copy of his book, Confessions of a Happy Christian.
Make no mistake about it, Zig had his hard times. A daughter preceded him in death. He took a fall in 2007 that affected his short term memory. Yet he continued his work, often assisted by another family member.
For many of us, Zig was bigger than life. He was, in essence, a legend. But if you knew Zig Ziglar, you would also know his deep and humble perception of the real man he knew best: himself. Like all of us, he was aware of his weaknesses. But he learned to overcome them.
Christmas time brings us annually face to face with another legendary figure: Santa Claus. Better said, St. Nicholas. The web link provided earlier will give you a much deeper perspective on the man held so highly in church history over the centuries. And yet the legend seems to be much bigger than the real man. Still his story inspires us.
The trouble with legends is that they often make more of the story than should be told. Zig truly was a wonderful man. And St. Nicholas as well. But if you are looking for hope, and peace, and truth, both of them would quickly point you past themselves to the Christ figure. They didn’t just know about Him. They KNEW Him.
Jesus made the most amazing and legendary claim that any human could by saying, “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE." And from what I’ve learned and experienced, Jesus is the only man that actually lives up to the legend. That Christmas story is worth sharing.
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