Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of Santa. He was a very magical part of my childhood, and his name is a very effective motivator around here during the holidays. Today my children got a message from Santa reminding them to be good. They nodded wide-eyed and recomitted themselves to a life of polite obedience.
I started thinking about the difference between Santa and Jesus. Here’s the thing. On Santa’s plan, if I mess up, I run the risk of not getting what I wish for. He’s kind of jolly about it and all, and come next year, he’ll give me another chance, but when it comes right down to it… it’s a completely saved-by-works-alone kind of plan.
Jesus, on the other hand, isn’t so winking and ho-ho-ho jolly, but he’s just so much more . . . well, real. He expects the best from us, but understands our human foibles. And even when we make mistakes, even when we’re downright stupid, he still kind of blesses us. He extends mercy without judgment and love without condition. I mean, sure, he’s a “judge,” but not in measuring out love or assistance. He will help us any time we let him, even when we’ve been naughty. When we don’t qualify for a single gift, he still offers us the greatest gifts that can ever be given: grace, mercy, forgiveness. Santa’s a toy maker; Jesus is a joy maker.
So Santa Claus is cool and all, but I love Jesus best.
Merry Christmas, everyone.