One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is the music. Whether it’s Bing Crosby, Alvin and the Chipmunks or the Choir at Kings College – holiday music holds a special place in my heart. And these days, it’s almost impossible to miss it on the radio. Let’s see what they’re playing now…
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, checking it twice,
Gonna find out who's naughty and nice,
Santa Claus is coming to town.
Wait a second – “He’s keeping a list?” I don’t like the sound of this Santa very much. And unfortunately, a lot of people confuse the way he’s portrayed in the song with the character of God. They see God as a type of eternal scorekeeper who’s got a list of all the bad stuff you’ve ever done and is holding a grudge against you. But we know that’s just not true.
God is nothing like Santa Claus! In fact, he’s the exact opposite. He loved us so much that he sent his only begotten Son to bring us back into communion with him. And it was by our Lord’s perfect relationship with the Father and Spirit, as well as his perfect relationship with all of humanity, that satisfied the requirements of God on our behalf. That life of perfect relationship is exactly what he offers each of us, every day.
See how Paul puts it in Romans: “All are justified freely by his grace through redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
That gift of free grace and mercy through Christ sounds so much better than living under the constant fear and anxiety of legalism. So the next time you hear Gene Autry singing about Santa making his list and checking it twice, remember that thankfully, we know a God who cares less about lists than about having a full and right relationship with us through his Son, Jesus Christ.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.