the naughty or nice list

If you have children or grandchildren, you probably are singing, Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

by Geralt from Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

He’s making a list,
He’s checking it twice,
He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice
Santa Claus is coming to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping
And he knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

With our grandsons we pantomime checking off a list … weighing the scales … and then we go online to see if they are on the naughty or nice list.  I use claus.com.

Here’s what is says about one grandson: Teetered back and forth but has made the finals on the “Nice” list. Naughty marks for skipping baths, hiding junk food in bedroom and staying up too late. Is sweet to parents and little kids, though. Really came through with plenty of “please” and “thank you’s.” Was especially well behaved the last week of last month. Has a good chance of clinching a “Nice.”  When I read these, the boys giggle, and they usually share something they shouldn’t have done that they want to fix.  In the end I tell them that the website is just for fun – just a guessing game. And you can see the gears whirring in their heads – just what does Santa see?  What does he know?

When I play this game with my littles, I am reminded that there are no balance scales in God’s home.  I am particularly thankful that He is not making a list, checking it twice, to see if I’ve been naughty or nice. I really don’t want to know if my “good” deeds will outweigh the “bad” – I wish they did but that’s not the point!.  I’m counting on GRACE because He tells me it is MY GIFT!!

God says,

All this [our being new creation] is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. …  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. … For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

We give gifts at Christmas because God gave the greatest gift –
the gift of salvation through His son!

We accept His gift by recognizing that it’s something we need! In acceptance we agree with God that we are undone … lost without Him. In the eyes of a holy and just God we don’t measure up without the gift of salvation!

The babe of Bethlehem’s story isn’t just about Christmas!  He came to earth, lived as a man and yet without sin. He willingly allowed himself to be nailed to a Cross to pay the penalty for the sins of the world – for all those that would believe in him. He died, was buried, and rose again … was seen by many.  This is the gospel – the Good News – the GIFT given that we might not perish but have everlasting life!

Good deeds are, well, good!
It’s just that the good deeds are not what puts us on the “nice” list!
Accepting the GIFT offered by the babe of Bethlehem-
that’s the key to God’s “nice” list!

O holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

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