Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Gift - how good do I have to be in order to receive it?

A few days ago, I over-heard a young mother threatening her misbehaving child with this old familiar standby, “Santa’s not going to bring you any presents if you don’t behave!” While it may be a common coercion, my heart immediately cringed.

Ponder, if you would, the meaning of the lyrics to this familiar Christmas tune:

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!

By instilling such beliefs, we are communicating the exact opposite of the unconditional love proclaimed in the Gospel message of Christ’s birth. Without even realizing it we are breeding a performance based mentality. Constantly standing in fear that maybe their efforts are not “good enough,” the child begins to wonder, “How good do I have to be in order to obtain these gifts? Is it even possible?”

The unfathomable gift of God’s Son, Jesus, was given to us to take away our sins, no holds barred. He doesn’t withhold His forgiveness from us when we are “bad” or “naughty” nor do we have to “get our act together” before we can receive the precious Gift that Father God has to offer!

“Due to God’s favor
you have been saved through faith,
and this is not due to anything you yourselves have done,
rather, it is God’s gift to you.
You weren’t saved by your actions,
and so no one can boast,”
Ephesians 2:8-9.

Pursuing a righteous standing before God through our own merit is a futile effort. No matter how hard we try, we cannot contribute to our salvation. It is a free gift! It is through our faith in Jesus that we stand before God as being worthy, yet even this faith is not something we can muster-up; rather it is a precious gift from our Creator and Redeemer, Christ Jesus!

How can we help our children come to recognize the immeasurable worth of such an unfathomable gift? How do we communicate to them that their worth is not measured by how well they perform?
Could it be that if our focus was on being living sacrifices to the Christ child rather than on assigning happiness to consumer goods and character labels to behavior, then our children would come to realize that they have already received the greatest gift? Rather than being frenzied with trying to be “acceptable,” could it be that their behavior would then naturally reflect the realization that they are unconditionally loved for who and what God created them to be? How desperately our children need to see the truth of the Gospel message lived out.

The message of Jesus is based upon
being loved as a sinner
rather than perfecting our performance in order to be worthy.

May you and those you love rest in this peace as you celebrate the birth of our Savior! Christ Jesus, thank You for sacrificing Your life that we may be considered worthy in our Father’s eyes. May all that we say and do in Your name, truly honor and bring glory to You!


No comments:

Post a Comment