If we are happy, just imagine how Ol’ Santa feels. He will have himself one more busy night here in three days. He will be travelling 226 million miles to deliver presents to 675 million households, all in one night’s work. And as many modern movies have attested, reindeer apparently can't get Santa every single place he needs to go; so these days, the prevailing assumption is that his sleigh is, at least in part, jet-propelled.
Accordingly, assuming his sleigh is about the size of a Chevy Suburban, he gets an estimated five miles per gallon of jet fuel. Therefore, Santa will need around forty-five million gallons for the evening. That being said, with jet fuel going for around $1.20 a gallon, his total fuel cost will be a little less than $54 million. And even if that is less than it has been in recent years, all I can say is “Ouch”!
Of course, there has always been some expense associated with Christmas travel. Mary and Joseph had a long journey to Bethlehem from Nazareth. The Wise Men came even farther, most scholars say all the way form Persia.
The wise men could probably afford the trip. They even brought treasure to give away. But Joseph and Mary were likely destitute. I am quite sure that the gift given to the holy family at Jesus’ birth helped to sustain them in their years travelling down in Egypt and until they could get back to Nazareth.
And yet the longest journey that first Christmas was still the one made by Jesus Himself – all the way from Heaven itself! Did that cost Him anything? You’d better believe it did! In the second chapter of his New Testament Letter to the Philippians (verses 1-11), the Apostle Paul writes:
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In verse seven, the translators of The New International Version use the phrase “made himself nothing”. Other translations, such as the English Standard Version, use the phrase “he emptied himself”. The Koine Greek of the original manuscripts uses the term “ekenosen”, which means “to empty out, to render void, to make valueless”.
Based upon this term, Christian theologians often speak of the “kenosis”, or the self-imposed emptying out of Christ, whereby He voluntarily gave up all the rights and privileges of His Heavenly status in order to come to earth, to incarnate Himself into human flesh, and thereafter to give His life as a ransom for men and women in order to set them free from the devastating power of sin. Any way you look at it, my friend, that is the most expensive price ever paid for Christmas travel!
Of course, as Paul contends in Philippians 2, those who would follow Christ must also be willing to sacrifice themselves and their interests in view of the interests and needs of others. If there is ever a time to begin assuming such a price, it is surely Christmas. In light of this, just how much will it cost you this year?
SOURCE: Time Magazine re-posted an article titled “This Is How Much Oil It Would Take to Fly Santa’s Sleigh” on their internet web site at: http://time.com/4153678/santa-claus-sleigh-oil/. The original article is available online at: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/How-Much-Oil-Is-Needed-To-Power-Santas-Sleigh.html.
NOTE: In a similar tongue in cheek article, Phillip Bump, a technology writer for The Atlantic, has attempted to provide an answer to a related question: What exactly is Santa's yearly workload? Bump calculated the number of Christian children in the world and the geographic distribution of those children around the globe. After factoring in all the nuances of time zones, distance between houses, and how many children live in each house, Bump shared his conclusions about Santa's yearly task:
[Based on CIA estimates] there are just over 526,000,000 Christian kids under the age of 14 in the world who celebrate Christmas on December 25th. In other words, Santa has to deliver presents to almost 22 million kids an hour, every hour, on the night before Christmas. That's about 365,000 kids a minute; about 6,100 a second.
Bump does mention a few caveats: such as that not all Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25th, the CIA's data isn't always up-to-date, and some non-Christians celebrate Christmas too. But all in all, he concludes that Ol'Santa has an enormous job to do! He has to serve over a billion kids in one night as he pulls a huge sleigh with nine reindeer, all while he tries to avoid being detected and shot down by the North America Aerospace Defense Command. And, this might be quite a task as one of his reindeer has a very shiny nose.