Naughty OR Nice?
Have you been naughty or extra nice this year? Will you receive a lump of coal in your stocking or everything you wished for? “You better watch out…Santa Claus is coming to town.” Remember, “He’s making a list; and checking it twice; gonna find out who’s naughty and nice…He sees you when you’re sleeping…knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”
Aww, Christmas fun! Interestingly, a few days ago I stumbled upon a website where you can actually ask Santa if you are on the “NAUGHTY or NICE” list. Yes indeedy, folks! Step right up, because at: http://www.claus.com/naughtyornice/nn_hmpg2.php you will find Santa’s Nice-o-Meter. By typing in your name and then clicking the “ASK SANTA” button, you can see where you stand on Santa’s Naughty or Nice scale.
Of course, I had to ask. Mine said, I’m nice, yet I’ve been naughty at times. The last two weeks though, I’ve been neat, polite, respectful, and I share well, but I could be better. And with a bit more effort, I could be near the top of the “nice” list. Yay, for me!!
We laugh, but honestly, it scares me when I see the god-like qualities we extend to Santa. And the myriads of children who think this is what Christmas is all about.
I know the name “Santa” is supposed to come from the word “Saint”, but did you ever notice how much it resembles a scrambling of the name, Satan? Good grief, Charlie Brown, no wonder the Christian population is dwindling.
Thankfully, Santa is only brought out once a year. But sadly, the other god-men, i.e. Marvel Heroes, DC Comic characters, like Superman and Batman, are all year long.
I try to downplay the Santa thing as much as possible, just like my mother did (Thanks, Mom!). And, hopefully this is what the early Christians were trying to do when they decided to celebrate the birth of Jesus during the pagan holiday of Saturnalia. Still, there are these two parallels we just can’t eradicate and they seem to be running closer and closer together. But, the saddest thing about children believing in Santa Claus is there is no redemptive quality in him at all.
As parents, we would never leave our “naughty” children out of Christmas, so we blur the lines and make Santa an extender of grace. It’s a nice thought, but grace is receiving a gift we don’t deserve; something Santa’s “Naughty or Nice” list doesn’t allow.
Yet, because God extended grace to us, we, in turn, can extend grace to our children. And without God’s grace, there would only be a NAUGHTY list; because NICE is a heart issue and as sinful humans, we will always have ulterior motives. Since the fall of Adam, we’ve been in the clutches of evil, desperately needing grace and redemption – to be purchased back from the god of this world.
But, this is impossible without Jesus.
Had the sinless Son of God not been born into humanity, He could not have died in our place to pay our ransom and we would be without hope. But thankfully, “…God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” This “…Grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men…” [For] “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself…” offering forgiveness of sin and His Gift of eternal life to ALL who would receive it through repentance, whether naughty or nice.
Nothing else is so freeing, so completely wonderful and satisfying. Only Jesus offers salvation and life eternal. The greatest Gift ever given; something we can’t earn and something we definitely do not deserve. Because of Jesus, we’re on the NICE list; entered into the Lamb’s Book of Life. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Have a Blessed Christmas
and a Happy, Healthy New Year!
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