A Study in Santa – Pt. II …Naughty or Nice?
I’m co-opting a blog from another site for this post. But never fear…the author is just as amazing as I am… 😉
And yes, you’ll note some similar themes as the previous post, but it’s coming from a different angle.
If you want to read it on the original website, click here.
In recent Christmas discussions, my children have been pondering (and possibly worrying) about whether they’ve made the cut. Whether they’ve been “naughty or nice,” as it relates to Santa coming, this is. Now, while my daughter still believes in Jolly ‘ol St. Nick, my son, Timothy, only participates in these conversations to keep the fantasy alive for her, which is pretty sweet, actually.
As we talked, the question at hand was something like this: No kid can ever be good ALL the time, …that would be impossible… So, …what “counts” as far as Santa is concerned? How good does one have to be to avoid the lump of coal? And how much naughtiness is assumed in the normal kid behavior bell curve? Is it just during the Christmas season? What about when you do extra nice things…do those “buy” you a later screw-up? Are there levels of goodness? Like – sorta good gets you a scooter, but REALLY good gets you an iPad? Basically…we were trying to define “naughty and nice.”
At first, I gave them an answer along these lines: “Well, I think it’s more about your heart. Do you try to be obedient? Do you apologize when you make mistakes?” I was trying to get at the idea that Santa looks for children who are generally good, knowing full well that no one is perfect. And apparently, we decided that if you’re better than Hudson (a kid at Timothy’s school who’s notorious for getting into trouble), then you’re probably ok. But still… fingers crossed on Christmas Eve… and let’s hope the letter we send to the North Pole is cute enough to push us over the edge into the “nice” camp, if Santa was on the fence.
But, as the conversation was humming along in the back seat of the car, in my mind, all I could think of was, “of course ‘Santa’ is coming! Because… I’m Santa (really hoping I didn’t just spoil the surprise for any of you…), and I WANT to bring them gifts! I mean – I REALLY want to. I can’t WAIT to give them gifts.
Santa gives gifts on the condition that they’re good…
Mommy gives gifts out of pure love.
My children receiving gifts depends much less on them and so much more …on me…on my desire to bless them. And, sure, I much prefer when they’re well-behaved, but Timothy’s right – no one can be good all the time. And if true goodness is what we’re aiming for,…everyone will fail. In truth, we ALL deserve a lump of coal.
Thank goodness God works more like the real Santa (parents), and less like the song. He doesn’t give us good gifts because we’re good (despite what some folksy theology may teach), but because HE – the giver of all good gifts – is pleased to give them to us. It makes HIM happy. And if you’ve ever given a child a really amazing gift on Christmas morning, you know the feeling!
In the end, that creepy Christmas ditty we sing to children this time of year… you know the one – the stalker tune about how Santa knows when we’re sleeping and when we’re awake, …how “he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake” – isn’t at all the spirit of Christmas OR the truth of life. If you do things that way, you’re not even behaving for “goodness’ sake,” you’re behaving to hopefully earn good gifts. But, moreso – the real gift giver wants to give the gifts, regardless of our behavior.
Santa gives gifts on the condition that we’re good…
God gives gifts – including the gift of His Son – out of pure love.
So, perhaps in this season of presents and stockings and holiday gift-lists, we should spend less time trying to achieve the bare minimum “goodness” to be in Santa’s good graces, and more time being thankful for Emmanuel – God with us – the giver of grace.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17