Have you ever stopped to pay attention to what that song is about? It’s got a catchy tune and all, but the lyrics are somewhat dark, at least I think so. It all boils down to how well we (the real target is kids) perform or behave. If we’re “good”, or” nice”, we get a reward. But if we are “bad”…well…we’re toast. And on top of that “you better watch out” because this Santa Claus is always watching us, whether we’re sleeping or awake, waiting to move us from the nice to naughty list. Now I always thought that the idea of Santa Claus was to bring gifts, but if we have to earn them through good behavior, they cease to be gifts. Most of the world’s religions are set up this way. If I can just earn God’s favor then I’m up for the reward, but if I’m too naughty...then…I’m toast; literally, in a big way. The whole idea of Christmas; its reality, is based in something completely different. The honest truth is that we are all on the “naughty list” and can’t get off it on our own! Our sins earn us the eternal lump of coal, already on fire. But our loving God offers us a true gift; such as we don’t deserve. He offers us His Son, who comes into humanity to be with us, one of us, and to take our place in getting what our sins deserve. Christmas marks the beginning of God the Son’s human journey, a journey that will reach its climax in a cross and empty tomb. In that journey God himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, moves us from the bad to good list, and we receive His reward; His righteousness. That’s the one and only true gift of Christmas; the one all of the other gifts point to. We still desire to be good and nice, not because of what it earns us from God, but rather because of all that He has done for us.
Pastor Brian Albrecht has served St. John's since June of 2009