Last December my wife had a great idea.
She said we should start doing Christmas traditions now that the girls are old enough to make memories. I couldn’t agree more. We came up with several. One idea that was thrown out was, “Elf on the Shelf”…a tradiiton where you put a little elf doll on a shelf to stare at you all day.
Sounds like the beginning of a horror movie.
But there’s more! The creepy doll, that will likely kill me in my sleep one day, also comes with a story. The story goes like this, “Little Elfie (or whatever you decide to call her) will watch you all day to see if you are good or bad and will travel back to the north pole and report all of your deeds back to Santa. So be good, because Elfie is watching.
We named ours Elfie.
We sat down as a family, I opened the book, did a quick proof read, looked up at Amy and said, “I’m not reading this horse crap.” She smiled and said, “I knew you were going to say that.”
So I made up my own little story that went something like this…”Elfie came down from the North Pole to encourage you with a message that St. Nick himself would be proud of: God loves you no matter what.
No matter what good you do or what bad you do; whether you obey or disobey; whether you ate all your vegetables or you threw them in the trash when Mommy and Daddy weren’t looking. Santa keeps a list of all your good deeds and all your bad deeds …and then on the night before Christmas…will look at the list and throw it in the trash…and bring you presents anyway…
Because Santa wants you to remember what Christmas is all about…Christmas is about the true gift from God to humanity, which was Himself. And it’s a free gift born out of his infinite desire for you. And this gift is always here, always present, and always was…but He came to show us…because sometimes we need to see that we are loved…not just be told we are.
Because if we believe the gospel of the traditional tale of “Santa Claus” …(not St. Nick btw)…we will have to believe an even bigger lie than Santa Claus…a lie that says…God favors the good and rejects the bad…he loves the obedient and forgets about the disobedient.
This is why Christ incarnated into Jesus…so we could know that was a lie. God loves because God is love. It’s who He is, always will be, and always was.
To believe anything less, let alone to build your life upon that reality, would be nothing short of a horror movie.
A horror movie in which you are the lead character constantly trying to not step on a crack so you don’t break your mothers back or whatever other superstitious bologna you want to believe about God’s disposition towards you.
He loves you. And you, and I, and everyone else will be spending the rest of eternity realizing how much. And we will never know, because one day we will see that the well of God’s love has no end.
But make no mistake, God is watching.
And no matter how healthy or unhealthy you are. No matter how much or how little you are living a life of response to God’s love, what God sees when He looks you – is nothing short of beautiful.
You’re His kid, after all.
And what loving Father doesn’t love giving their kids free gifts?