Naughty or Nice

This year I have spent some time reflecting on Santa Claus and the magic he brings to Christmas and I discovered that he falls short. Santa Claus is a jolly old elf who brings toys to good girls and boys every year. The key word in that sentence is good. For the naughty children they get a lump of coal or a switch.

That’s a great story to tell our kids to wring some good behavior out of them for a few months, but it is also a conditional love scenario. It is a behavior based reward system. This tale is contrary to the gift and meaning of Christmas. The true gift of Christmas is the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ also came to bring us a gift. He came to bring us the gift of salvation through the grace of his sacrifice. However, unlike Santa Claus he brought us our gift when we were naughty. We are all of us on that naughty list. If he had waited for us to be nice enough to deserve his sacrifice we would never have been saved. He came and put us on the nice list and paid for it with his own blood and suffering.

Romans 3:22-26 NLT
We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. And he is being entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus.

When one compares the conditional gifts Santa Claus brings to the good children to the unconditional sacrifice that Jesus made for all undeserving sinners there is no contest. There is no question of who should be honored this year, and who should be left out. I don’t need a gift from Santa Claus because I know that the true gift of Christmas comes from Christ alone.  The same gift that can be yours if you turn to Jesus.  He is holding your gift for you, waiting for you to let him in.

Joshua 24:15 NLT
“…but as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”