Every year about 1500 volunteers gather on December 24that Building 910 on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. They arrive fifteen minutes before the start of their two hour shift to receive instructions and then move to one of four conference rooms where phone lines are set up. During eleven shifts, over 134,000 calls and over 6500 emails will come in from all over the world, (mostly the U.S. and Canada), from children and adults who want to know where Santa Claus is.
This tradition began accidently in 1955, when a department store advertisement printed in the local newspaper said, “Hey, Kiddies! Call me direct and be sure and dial the correct number.” Ironically, the number for children to call Santa was a misprint and actually went straight to Colonel Harry Shoup’s work number at the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). Instead of telling the children that they had a wrong number, Harry had his operators give each child a location for Santa. Thereby began a custom inherited by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) when it formed in 1958. Col. Shoup became known as Santa Colonel. Today, through satellite systems, high-powered radars, and jet fighters, Canadians and Americans track Santa as he travels the globe making deliveries.
Kathleen and I worked a two-hour shift, and were absolutely amazed at the number of calls we fielded. On a large screen, information told us Santa’s whereabouts in the world, and the number of gifts he had delivered. We would inform the callers of a three hour time block when Santa could be expected to arrive at their location. This made many parents happy, because they could use the information to get their children to go to bed early.
Mark 1:35-37—Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. Simon and his companions went searching for Him. They found Him and said, “Everyone’s looking for You!”
Imagine how exciting it would be if 134,000 people called in and wanted to know where Jesus is! A fat, red-shirted legend, purportedly delivers toys to good boys and girls, with the help of flying reindeer pulling a very full sled. God’s Son, for real, delivers forgiveness for sins, joy, and eternal life to those who put their trust in Him. The greatest news is that of grace, from the heart of a loving Father! Which story are we proclaiming? It was fun to be a volunteer for NORAD. It is eternally gratifying to be a servant of heaven. “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills, and everywhere . . . that Jesus Christ is born!”
The most staggering thing about Jesus Christ is that He makes human destiny depend not on goodness or badness, not on things done or not done, but on who we say He is.—Oswald Chambers in If You Will Be Perfect
©2015 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
NORAD’s Instruction Pamphlet for Volunteer Callers; check out the website at www.noradsanta.org