But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. Ephesians 4:7.
Finally, let’s talk about Santa and God’s grace. In our increasingly secular America, where leftist hostility threatens to crowd out any faith except itself, where crime and real hatred work to undo the works of love, and where division with the right is on the rise, at this time of year, Santa is all about grace.
Santa and God’s grace? I thought the hyper-Christians and Santa-Haters owned the topic of grace! There actually is an unspoken “war on Christmas” and some of the primary combatants relentlessly defend the position that God Almighty is the author of peace on earth and good will toward men. The secular ‘god’ of Santa Claus is one of the vehicles the other side uses to fight against the truth of Jesus. Anything related to Christmas that isn’t all and only Jesus must be eradicated.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
Grace is unmerited mercy. You don’t do anything to earn it or deserve it. It is love freely given to you by God because He’s God and He loves us. He loves us so much that He wasn’t willing for us to be apart from him. Our sins earned us permanent separation from God but He didn’t want that for us because His love is too good to withhold. So, in the ultimate act of grace, God came here to Earth as a man and gave His life as an atonement for our sins. All of that was beautifully exemplified on Christmas morning when God gave us that first Christmas gift.
Every year, both religious and secular America commemorate that gift, in part, by celebrating the magnanimity of Santa Claus. Without Christ there is no Christmas, and without Christmas there is no Santa Claus, whose heart is focused on giving, on sharing with strangers simply because he can. He does it on and only on Christmas: the birthday of God. How is that not grace?
But but but…what about that naughty and nice list? If the fruit of God’s Spirit is visible through good works, and those good works are lauded by both God and Santa Claus, then is it unreasonable to expect both God and Santa would disapprove of our naughty works? God turns us over to the consequences of our unrepentant hearts. Is it any wonder that part of the Santa story would include the same thing? And yet, even knowing we naughty people deserve punishment, God still gives us our lives, our health, and everything we are. It’s pure grace. As for Santa, be reasonable: other than my parents and politicians, do you honestly know of anyone who has ever put a lump of coal in your stocking? Grace again.
Christ apportioned true grace for us by giving His very life so we wouldn’t have to give ours. He bridged the chasm between damnation and salvation and made it possible for us to avoid the former. Christ gives the gift of salvation that Santa doesn’t, and He did it out of the kind of love that makes Santa’s look cheap. Face it: Santa doesn’t love the way Jesus loves; that’s simply the way it is. Yet love it is from Saint Nick all the same, and when we consider how many people in our world need love, well, maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to condemn it. Maybe the idea of Santa Claus is simply an extension of our faith in God, of appreciating His grace in giving us things we want but don’t deserve.
Thank you, my friend, for reading these words, and Merry Christmas to you. I hope they’ve helped you and made you think of things you might not otherwise have considered. More than that, I hope they’ve planted in you the seed of curiosity to investigate God’s Word even more. In parting this year, I’ll challenge you to take a few minutes on Christmas Eve and read Luke 2. Read it in the King James version because, in my opinion, the first twenty verses of Luke 2 when read in that 15th century English are the most beautiful words ever written. Take a few minutes to thank God for them, and for sending His only Son to be born on Christmas as a man. Then thank Him, too, for the coming Easter that fulfills the promise of eternity. Last, thank our Lord for the gift of the story of Santa Claus and how jolly old St. Nick is actually a herald of our Savior in Bethlehem.
For further reading: Luke 2 (in the King James version).
Thank You, Lord, for Your grace, Your gift, and Your love. Thank You for Christmas…and Easter.