The Naughty List


Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. I LOVE buying presents for my kids. Giving gifts is such a joy and seeing their faces light up with excitement is worth every penny we spend. Gifts are given from our hearts, and when it comes to presents we try to be open and honest with our kids about where they come from, meaning in our house Santa is just pretend and a fun game we play.

When my kids were younger we didn't even bring Santa up, but now that Rooster and Cupcake are old enough to enjoy and understand the game we seem to talk about Santa Clause A LOT. They are just at the age where believing and pretending go hand in hand. It's all real to them, no matter what we say!

However, the other night I overheard a conversation between my husband and my 5-year-old that made me thankful for our truth-telling. They had just gotten done reading a story that involved Santa going down his list and checking it twice. 

My 5-year-old started the conversation with, "Dad, Santa only brings toys to good boys and girls." 

"That's right. He brings sticks and rocks to the bad boys and girls." my husband said. After all, that is how the Santa story goes. 

Then with a quiver in his voice my 5-year-old said, "But dad, I don't want to get sticks and rocks." 

Now, my 5-year-old isn't a bad kid by most standards. He can be disobedient, energetic, frustrating, and sometimes completely oblivious to everything I say, but he's fun, clever, and often eager to help. I adore being around him and watching his passion for facts and details grow. I would put him on the good list every time, but maybe I'm  a little partial {wink, wink}

However, in that moment my sweet Rooster recognized that Santa might not see him in the same way. Because if Santa knew about the times when he was unkind and disobedient and "sometimes mean" as Rooster says, then Santa surely wouldn't bring presents to our house. 

With wisdom my husband spoke with reassurance, "Son, remember Santa isn't real. He's just pretend. Mom and I give you gifts because we love you." 

The truth brought tears to my eyes. 

Because honestly, my son isn't good. Neither am I. We've all sinned and no amount of kindness can erase those moments of wrongdoing. They taint us and leave us all stuck on the naughty list.

But God is gracious. His list isn't about who has been naughty or nice, but who has been forgiven. His blessings, His good and perfect gifts, are given purely out of love.

Of course, I'm pretty sure this deep truth was lost of my 5-year-old last night. After a moment of reflection he smiled and said, "Dad, if Santa brings sticks and rocks we can just build a camp fire! I like camping."

We all laughed out loud at that! 

When it's all said and done, no matter what Santa brings to your home this year, I pray that we remember that the gifts that really matter are always given freely. When it comes to our heavenly Father, it's not about working to get on the nice list. We don't have to fear that God will give us sticks and stones or withhold our blessings as punishment for sin. God doesn't work that way. 

When we are in Christ our blessings are always given freely and without measure, not blessings like presents wrapped under the tree, but of grace, peace, and strength beyond all understanding. Blessings of forgiveness and security of eternal life. 

I pray your home is filled with these good and perfect gifts this year, and that everything you gift this Christmas is given and received in love.


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