Disclaimer: This isn’t an anti-santa rant. Please read the full post before assuming what I’m saying. 🙂

Who doesn’t like Santa Clause?

The man, the myth, the legend.

The jolly laugh. The exciting gifts. The engaging holiday movies. The epic stories of St. Nicholas.

It’s all fun and games until you get to the naughty and nice list. This is the part that gets me. We say Santa likes to give presents. We say that he brings kids joy. But why then is he used to manipulate our children’s behavior?

“If you’re not nice, you won’t get anything from Santa.”

“If you’re on the naughty list, you’ll end up getting coal instead of something nice.”

While we paint an outward picture of Santa as this jolly man who gives good gifts to children, he is really just a distorted picture we have of Jesus.

Many of us view God not much differently than Santa. He’s someone we’ve never actually seen… who is seated somewhere, constantly watching us… to make sure we’re doing everything right… in order that we get on His nice list… otherwise He will pull out His “bag of coal” and give us what we truly deserve.

However, that’s not the real Jesus.

You see, all of us are already on the naughty list… regardless of how good we are. We all have sinned and fallen short. We’ve all disobeyed our parents. We’ve all had bad attitudes. We’ve all done something that deserves a just punishment.

We all deserve coal.

But God, being the merciful and gracious One He is, gave us something that we don’t deserve. He gave us Jesus. And Jesus gave us the cross and the empty tomb. And to top it off… the Father gave the gift of Holy Spirit.

And He gave us all of that even while we were on the naughty list. That’s grace.

So while the elves are on the shelves, spying on us… and Santa is checking his list twice… seeing if we deserve a present… Jesus is already fully aware of our sin and our failures and is fully aware of what we deserve.

Yet He still gives.

He gives forgiveness. He gives grace. He gives life and life more abundantly.

And those are things that won’t fit in any stocking.

So the next time you view God through the same lens as Santa. Don’t. He’s not Santa. View God through the lens of Jesus… who is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

And who doesn’t give coal.