Naughty or Nice?

I wish that John Frederick Coots’ memorable Santa Claus is Coming to Town had never been written.  In case you haven’t threatened your children with the premises of the song this Christmas season, I will regurgitate its lyrics to facilitate your memory:

You better watch out You better not cry Better not pout I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town He’s making a list And checking it twice;

Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice Santa Claus is coming to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping He knows when you’re awake

He knows if you’ve been bad or good So be good for goodness sake!

O! You better watch out! You better not cry Better not pout I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town Santa Claus is coming to town

Realizing that I always made Santa’s “list,” despite the fact that I was rarely “nice” and comfortably “naughty,” I concluded at an early age that Santa is a pushover and his “list” nonsense.   By the way, it’s safe to assume that John Frederick Coots had many kids, but I choose not to digress.

How often have we as parents echoed these lyrics as way of motivating our kids to behave sensibly?  Sing the song if you desire, and use it to correct your children’s behavior if you so choose.  I, however, have chosen to use this Christmas season as an opportunity to teach my kids that Christmas is about Christ, and unlike Santa, Jesus has come to town to make the “naughty” holy and the “holy” humbled.

Like children during the Christmas season, many live life trying to acquire enough checks to make the “list,” hoping that God will accept them by what they do.  Unfortunately, those who build a ladder of good works to heaven will find themselves standing in hell.  Good works have always been the result of salvation, not the cause of it.

Apart from the New Birth spoken by Jesus in John 3 we are hopeless, but because of it we are holy and acceptable to God.  My hope and prayer is that those who don’t believe in the life and ministry of Christ will, and those who do will be given a greater knowledge of the greatness of Christ’s salvation this Christmas season.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regenerationand renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirsaccording to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:4-7

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