12th December 2017

Santa Claus is Coming to Town 

“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.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) 

The song Santa Claus is Coming to Town includes the following words:
You better watch out, you better not cry
Better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
He’s making a list and checking it twice
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice…
He sees you when you’re sleepin’
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake

This omniscient being who knows when we are sleeping and when we are awake, who judges our every action is coming to town, so we had better watch out. If we want that extra special present we had better be good. The problem this song articulates is that it gives the impression that we only receive good things if we are good. Ask any child at Christmas time have they been good and they won’t say, ‘Well actually I’ve been right stinker all year,’ because the fear is they won’t get the present they want. There is no conception of grace here—That maybe Santa would come to the children’s house and give them a gift because he loved them, instead of rewarding them for what they had done to please him. And we can easily substitute God for Santa in this line of thinking:
You better watch out, better not cry
Better not sin, I’m telling you why
Jesus Christ is coming to town
He’s making a list and checking twice
He knows if you’ve been naughty or nice
So if you want all his gifts
You better be good for goodness sake.

The trouble is, I do mess up, and this approach leads to the thinking that I will get a bad life or miss all that God has for me. But God and Santa are very different in their approach. God does not keep a list of all my wrongdoings. What God sees when I sin is Jesus in me. God offers us so many gifts, but the one we seem to have the hardest time unwrapping is the gift of grace; that God gives us good gifts even when we don’t deserve them. Grace allows us to become who God wants us to be as we simply love and trust Him and quit trying to be good for goodness sake. We are saved by grace and faith in Christ, and we become like Him in exactly the same way.

Don’t live by a Santa Claus theology of performance, rather live by God’s theology of grace. Receive his salvation, acceptance and love; it’s the best gift you’ll ever be given. 

Father thank you for Jesus; your gift of grace to us.

Study by Barry Robinson


About the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11 am

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email: barry_robinson@wcg.org.uk

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