Reading Reflection

I read a blog today that had a great point. The title: Don’t Preach Santa to Yourself, written by Gloria Furman. With the stores getting all their Christmas on already, Gloria realizes how we sometimes treat our spiritual lives like our relationship with Santa Claus. Sometimes we fall into the trap of keeping a tally record of our sins and good works to see if we’ve earned God’s blessings. Gloria reminds us:
That’s not the gospel—the gospel says we don’t get what we deserve (punishment for our sins), but because of God’s grace in the cross we get what Christ deserved instead (eternal fellowship with God).
The article reminded me of an older article I wrote, The Horror Film God. We paint St. Nick as possessing a God-like attribute: omniscience. And when we tell the kiddos about Santa’s omniscience, we use it to scare them. He sees everything they are doing; he knows if they’ve been good or bad. Likewise, we sometimes think of God as pointing the finger, waiting for us to mess up. Obviously we need to preach the gospel to ourselves as adults. But this article made me think of how great a discussion this is to have with our children: contrasting Santa with Christ. Whether or not you play along with the Santa-thing, your kids know the story. With mine, we’ve always told them Santa is something we pretend as a fun Christmas tradition. But all three of them actively forget the pretend part and just wanted to believe anyway. We say Santa is all-knowing. But we can show them Heb. 4:13: And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account, proving God really is. But then, so they don’t confuse him with Santa, we can turn to the verses Gloria gave:
And you, who were dead in you trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross (Col. 2: 13-14). Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved (Eph. 1:3-6).
How amazing! God chose us in him while we were dead in our sins. And the blessings he gives are abundantly more than a Christmas morning can offer. Santa throws gifts annually under the tree. God gives us himself in Christ. We are adopted into our Lord's family. Santa rewards good behavior. Christ pays the penalty for our sin so that he can make us holy. Santa only comes when you are sleeping. Christ is with us always. Santa supposedly only shows up if you believe. Christ does the work first, then fills us with his Spirit, making us alive in him, so that by his irresistible grace we will have eyes that see and ears that hear. And then there’s the obvious: Christ is real whether you believe in him or not. The secular Christmas message is all about giving, but sometimes it’s better to receive. In gratitude, maybe we can share this good news with some little ones this season.