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Santa’s Justice

December 23, 2011

Santa’s naughty/nice list has been the topic of discussion around here lately.  Jackson asks me at least once a day if he is on the naughty list (shocking that he would have any reason to ask, right?!?!?)  Sidney, when writing her letter to Santa last week, asked me to take a photo of her doing something kind so that we could send that to him as proof that she should be on the nice list.  Grace just constantly analyzes and provides commentary as to who she thinks should and shouldn’t be on the naughty list (siblings, herself, t.v. characters, book characters, etc.)  Being assured that she falls onto the nice list is of the utmost importance to her : )

Sometimes, one of the kids will come up to me and inform me that their brother and/or sister should be placed on the naughty list.  Sometimes, they will simply ask me if I think that they are on the naughty or nice list this year.  Sometimes, they speak as if their place on the nice list is secure.  Sometimes, they speak as if they are not-so-secure.  Sometimes, they worry about whether or not the whole family will make it onto the nice list.  They know that Santa is in the business of rewarding good behavior.  Santa is just.  He gives according to what has been earned.  He gives according to what is deserved.  Most of us parents jump on board with that story. It’s the story that most of us extend to our children this time of year…..right???

With all of this naughty and nice banter swirling around me lately, I’ve begun to think about how this time of year presents us with a wonderful, unique opportunity to introduce the concept of grace to our children.  That opportunity is centered around this highly-revered guy named Santa.

The kids are under the impression that Santa – a jolly and kind symbol of justice – gives them gifts according to how good they have been all year long.  If they can understand that, then I think that I can push a little further and try to get them to understand how great it is that there is Someone who does not extend gifts to us according to our actions.  He doesn’t have a naughty list and a nice list.  He freely offers us the greatest gift of all – regardless of our “naughty” or “nice” deeds.  He offers that gift – His gift of grace – to all who place their faith in his son, Jesus.

God is the Author of justice.  But, thankfully he doesn’t stop at there.  He is the Author of mercy.  But, thankfully he doesn’t stop there either.  He is the Author of grace.  Grace.  Unmerited favor.  Completely generous giving toward completely undeserving recipients.

No naughty list.  No nice list.  If we have accepted His gift of grace, we don’t have to worry about hopping back and forth from one list to the other……….depending on what kind of day it’s been for us.  We are simply covered by grace through faith.   His grace is sufficient.   His love is unconditional and unmerited.  He doesn’t give us gifts according to what we deserve.  By His grace, He has given us the greatest gift of all – the gift of Jesus and eternal life through Him.  Our “nice” deeds can’t earn us that gift.  They are simply a response to the great gift that has been given to us.  In a heart that has been filled with His grace, “nice” deeds just naturally begin to spill over.

In sharing this simple lesson about Santa’s justice with our children, I’m hoping that they might begin to digest the awesome concept of grace.  By contrasting the justice of Santa Claus against the concept of grace, I’m hoping that a wonderful truth will begin to take root in their hearts.   It would be great if they could begin to see that the jolly, just, bearded gift-giver who they know and love pales in comparison to the greatest Gift-Giver of all.

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” – 2 Corinthians 9:15 –

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