The God of Christmas
Article by Andrew Mathiesen (HHS Ministry Intern)
“You better watch out. You better not cry. Better not pout, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town. He’s making a list, And checking it twice; Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake!”
Every year Christmas time comes around and we hear this frightfully haunting song. This guy Santa Claus sounds a whole lot like an “all knowing tyrant” in the sky, who judges people based on whether they are good or bad. My step-brother who is not a follower of Christ would actually say that this sounds a whole lot like the god that Christians worship.
We know that God is not a far off malevolent being. We know that he doesn’t give or take anything away from us based upon if we are good or bad. We do know that God sympathizes with us. This is the beauty and joy of the Christmas season. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9.6)
Santa Claus **Spoiler** (If he were real) promises good boys and girls material things. That video game that you have always wanted. Those shoes that you have been dying for, that you have seen on T.V. a hundred times this past year. Or in my case a bucket of paint and some Christmas lights. So, that I can recreate a scene from Stranger Things.
It would be bad news if God gave and took away based upon if we are good or bad. See unlike Santa Claus who gives based upon what you do. God does not. We know from God’s word what the human condition really is.
The Human Condition
“None is righteous, no, not one.” (Romans.3.10)
“…All have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glory.” (Romans3.23)
“And exchanged the Glory of immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and creeping things.” (Romans1.23)
We actually don’t deserve gifts at any time in the year. None of us are righteous. We have all fallen short of God’s glory. We all have exchanged the glory of God for material things, for things of a lesser value. John Piper puts it best, “All sin comes from not putting the supreme value on the glory of God-this is the very essence of sin.” See it would really be bad news if God gave and took away based upon if we are good or bad. We really don’t deserve anything.
God has made a way for us though. In Second Timothy, Paul writes about what Christ has done, “and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” (2 Tim.1.10)
We are celebrating the birth of God made flesh. The birth of a lowborn King. God gave us a gift in Christ. A gift that we don’t deserve. And all we have to do is believe that Christ died on the cross? This undeserved grace and love and mercy should propel us forward to turn from our sins and become determined followers of Christ.
Materialism Vs. Eternity
At Christmas time, we are expecting to receive gifts. We are expecting to get what we want. And when we don’t get what we want, we’re sad and feel left out. For those that believe Christ is their treasure, have the hope and promise of eternity here now, and forever after this life.
Where Santa Claus offers us material things if we are good. God gives us eternal life despite us.
Piper, John. Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. Multinomah Books, Colorado Springs, Colorado 2014.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway, 2001.