Santa Claus is coming to town  

by | Dec 10, 2022 | December 2022 | 0 comments

…it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 NIVUK)

The song Santa Claus is coming to town includes the following words:

You better watch out, you better not cry
Better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

He’s making a list and checking it twice
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

He sees you when you’re sleepin’
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake

The problem with this song is that it gives the impression that we only receive good things if we are good. Ask any child at Christmas time if they have been good, and fearful they won’t get the present they want, they won’t say, ‘Well actually I’ve been really naughty all year.’ There is no conception of grace here – no thought that maybe Santa would come to the child’s house and give them a gift because he loved them instead of rewarding them for good behaviour. And we can easily substitute Jesus for Santa in this line of thinking:

You better watch out, better not cry
Better not sin, I’m telling you why
Jesus Christ is coming to town
He’s making a list and checking it twice

He knows if you’ve been naughty or nice
So, if you want all his gifts
You better be good for goodness sake.

But Jesus and Santa are very different in their approach. Jesus does not keep a list of all our wrongdoings – he loves us even when we do things wrong. (Romans 5:8).

Jesus offers us so many gifts, but the one we seem to have the hardest time unwrapping is the gift of grace: Jesus gives us good gifts that we cannot earn and we don’t deserve. Grace allows us to become who God wants us to be, as we simply trust and submit our lives to him and quit trying to ‘be good for goodness sake’. We are saved by grace and faith in Jesus, and we become like him in exactly the same way. 

Don’t live by a Santa Claus theology of performance, rather live by God’s theology of grace. Receive his salvation, acceptance, and love – it’s the best gift you’ll ever be given. 

Gracious Father, thank you for Jesus: your gift of grace to us, in whose name we pray, Amen.


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