2020 has been a year for the records books… but not in a good way. 6 feet apart. Mask. Closed everything. Cancelled everything. Stay at home. Don’t catch COVID. That’s been our 2020…

But one good thing has happened since Thanksgiving: Everyone has quickly embraced the Christmas season. Seriously, it seems that everyone has started blasting the Christmas music and decorating. And no one is Bah Humbug-ing. We are all happily welcoming this change!  We are ready to have something to look forward to.

While that’s awesome that we all want to look forward to Christmas, I truly think we could all benefit from looking to Christ every day… not just in Decemeber.

The Light of Christmas can be the light in our hearts each day by intentionally remembering the gift He has given us (salvation) by being the gift to the world.

Sadly, as America prepares for Christmas the focus is not Christ… it’s on the season of giving, family, and Santa. While giving is a great thing to do and can be justified in many ways as Christian, I can’t help but wonder if people want God to be Santa.

C.S. Lewis is quoted saying, “We want not so much a Father but a grandfather in heaven, a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?” We want a jolly, old grandpa who wants nothing more than us to be happy. We want Santa.

*Santa: Be Good= Get gifts.  

We want our good works to receive recognition. We want to be rewarded for our works.

*God: “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Romans 3:10

You cannot save yourself. You need a Savior.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

*Santa: He’s making a list and checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice…

We all know we do not belong on the nice list. We all fall short. Yet somehow, we do not get the gift of coal we deserve. We do not want our wrong doings to be known. We want to pretend like they do not exist. We put ourselves on the nice list and expect to stay there.

* God has a list too. Those in the Book of life and those who are not. (See Revelation 20:12.)

However, God is not going to overlook our sins. We must repent and return to the Lord.

“The wage of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). Yet, God loved us so much that He sent His one and Only Son to pay the ransom and take on the punishment of our sin.

*Sit on Santa’s lap and tell Him what you want. If you are good, you will get what you ask for.

Oh man! Do you treat prayer like this? Tell God what you want and expect Him to bless off on it. And if He doesn’t, assume that you must not have been good enough… If you have or do, I am so sorry my friend. God is not Santa.  

*God: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55: 8-9

We cannot understand God’s ways, but we can trust that He is a Good Father and has our best interest. We can only see what is right in front of us, while He sees all of what is, was, and can be.

Santa: Do you believe?

It’s this big deal to keep the believing in Santa alive. We have many clever tricks and tips to help parents create the “magic of Christmas.”

God: Do you believe?

Do you embrace the Cross the way you embrace a Santa hat?

Do you put as much effort into convincing your non-believing co-worker that Christ is his/her Savior as you put into convincing that 8 year old that Santa is real?

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

Look I don’t say all this to say Santa is bad. He is not. He is the face of Christmas for Americans. He is happy, and jolly, and giving. All good things.

But we have to remember- Santa is not God. But even more than that, we cannot create an image of God in Santa’s likeness. God is a good God. He is a good Father. But just like your dad wouldn’t praise you with gifts for acting like a fool, you Heavenly Father holds you to a standard as well. You cannot reach that standard on your own. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Which is why Jesus came to this earth as a humble baby boy. He left His throne in Heaven to be born of a virgin. This is what we celebrate on Christmas. The hope of the world. The coming of our Savior, Redeemer, the Perfect and Spotless Lamb who would take on the punishment of the world.

While Santa is good. God is amazing! God’s ways are higher! That is where I want to put my hope.

I challenge you to reflect on how you see God. Do you see a grandfather in Heaven who just wants a good time to be had by all, or do you see your Heavenly Father who wants you to become more like Christ?

Instead of seeing God as Santa, maybe we should see the likeness of God in Santa. Remember we were made in God’s image, not the other way around. He is the Potter. We are the clay.