Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Repost: Bad Children Won't Get Any Christmas Presents

I originally posted this in December 2009 (four years ago already?!).  Always at this time of year is the temptation to hold the promise of presents over my children's heads in order to get good behavior.  Some old habits really die hard.  Very hard.  No matter if you decide to play the Santa game, use Elf on the Shelf, or other fun traditions, remember the truth of the Gospel:  Jesus came as a gift BECAUSE we were naughty.  No, worse than that: 

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  (Romans 3:23)

And not just a lump of coal, but rather:

"For the wages of sin is death...

...but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)



Tonight I was tired.  I admonished my children to clean up the living room floor, which was scattered with duplo legos, various baby toys, and broken crayons.  They weren't cleaning fast enough.  A thought popped into my head, programmed there years ago by popular children's songs and television, and the words almost left my lips.  A manipulative thought, words that just might work.  We don't play the "Santa game" at our home...pretending it is Santa who leaves presents on Christmas Eve for "good" little girls and boys or lumps of coal for "bad" children.  But I almost declared that there would be no presents as naughty children don't deserve presents.

Boy, do I learn my lessons hard.

This year I have been learning the lesson of grace over and over again, and in an instant my thoughts betrayed me and proved that I have much more to learn.

What have we tried for weeks to prepare our children for?  What is Advent?  What is Christmas really about?


Emmanuel, God with us. 

Why did he come?  It is painful, but it is SO true.  He came to die.  In a few months we will mourn the road to the cross and celebrate the resurrection.  He came because we are in a desperate situation.  In our sin.  Undeserving.

The ultimate Christmas gift.

And I have been so very badAnd so have you.

Lord, help us to remember and to share Your light, Your grace, Your love with the world.  I am saddened by how easily and quickly my heart was turned away from the true meaning of why we mark the remembrance of this holy day, even with the reminders constantly around me.  Thank You for the one real gift that matters.

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