If Santa ever needs more little helpers, Thailand has them ready and waiting:
Did you notice the wristbands getting scanned? Also, if you look carefully about half way through the video you’ll see someone looking not at all elfin: a man with a big smile and a clipboard who’s counting heads. That man is from the Guinness Book of World Records because this elf confab was the latest attempt to gather the most elves – Christmas variety – in one spot.
They succeeded handily; by comparison, a record-setting effort in the United States back in 2009 consisted of just over 600 people, while this Thai gathering brought 1792 happy elf-costumed celebrants together.
Other countries have gotten in on the act as well, with Wales setting the 2012 record and England breaking that record in 2013. Who knew Christmas elf gatherings would become a world-wide trend? Can you imagine if every nation’s elf-efforts all happened at once and in the same spot?
These record-setting elf gatherings are good fun. After all, Santa’s a jolly old fellow who can use all the help he can get. And when we look beyond Santa and the elves to the reason we have Christmas in the first place, we see the One who is truly worthy of our attention, truly worth gathering for, Jesus the Messiah born in a stable two thousand years ago.
Long before Jesus’ birth in that Bethlehem stable, the prophets of Israel spoke of his coming and what that would mean for people the world over:
At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord. (Jeremiah 3:17.)
“They will proclaim my glory among the nations. And they will bring all your people, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord—on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the Lord. “… And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 66:19-21.)
All the nations will gather to honor God, and he will choose priests from them.
The conclusion of Isaiah’s prophecy includes the line “‘all mankind will come and bow down before me,’ says the Lord.” This is a promise that will come alive with the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. …
It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
(Romans 14:9, 11.)
The knees of those gathered from the nations – the prophecy of Isaiah seven centuries earlier – bow to Jesus himself.
… at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We are even told a bit about what this will look like:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb [Jesus]. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10.)
So rather than sing “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” while wearing elf hats with pointy ears, we will wear robes of salvation while singing praises to our God. And it won’t be one nation setting the record one year and another nation besting them the next, but it will be all nations together as one kingdom under God in the greatest gathering for all eternity.
That’s one for the record books.