When I was a little girl, I remember listening for sleigh bells on Christmas Eve. I just knew that Santa was on his way, carrying a bag filled with toys for every good little boy and girl. I never worried that he would fly past our house, because I was certain I was on the Nice List. I was even pretty confident my name had a few stars doodled beside it. wink.
Today, I cringe at the thought of teaching little children about the Naughty List and the Nice List. In my opinion, this is one TeRrIbLe idea! Who came up with the idea to tell a child, "If you are really nice and good, you'll get what you want because you deserve it! And if you are bad and naughty, then Santa won't give you a gift; you get nothing."? After much pondering, while I was cooking dinner last night, I have decided that the person who made up the 'List' concept must not have had a relationship with the Lord. That's a pretty bold assumption, huh? But let me explain why...
For years and years, I had an emptiness inside that simply could not be filled. I tried to fill it with accomplishments, but those always faded. I tried to fill it with relationships, but people are not perfect and disappointment lurked. I tried to be good, please others, and simply be a happy person. I quietly watched as some of my friends seemed so content and filled with joy, and I longed for what they had. I didn't know 'what' it was that my friends had and I was lacking, but I sensed it was something I needed desperately. (Sorry, you are probably wondering what this all has to do with Santa's List! I promise I'm getting to that.)
Then I met David, and he had 'it'. That 'something' that I couldn't put my finger on, but I knew it was there. And he explained it to me. (Oh, how I love my husband! He is such a blessing, in so very many ways!) Sure, I'd gone to church all my life, sung hymns, and even knew a few Bible stories, but I never had a relationship with Jesus. That's what it was! Jesus was all I needed to fill that emptiness, because I was created for worship! I was never going to be 'good enough'...and I could never 'earn' my way to heaven through my own efforts. It was then that I really understood, I belong on the Naughty List. Big time.
Yes, if these 'Santa lists' exsisted, my name should have been on the naughty list. And I'm sorry, friend, but your name would have been there, too. We are ALL 'bad'. We ALL fall short, and we ALL sin every day. But here's the joyful news! Yes, we are all pretty stinky, but God's grace can wash us clean as Christmas snow! Praise the Lord for His love, His grace, and His Son. He has saved a wretch (aka Naughty List woman) like me!
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."- John 3:16-18