Just like many, I love the Christmas season. This is why I spend my car rides listening to Christmas music; and prompt the kids to watch nothing but Christmas shows. One of Ellie’s favorite Christmas shows/movies is Fred Claus with Vince Vaughn. I know, it seems a little odd that a three year old would like this movie. Needless to say, we have watched this movie many times over the last couple of weeks. There is a point at the conclusion of this movie that I would like to highlight. Fred (played by Vaughn) expresses that there are no naughty kids and urges his brother, Santa, to begin the practice of giving every child a gift at Christmas. I have to admit that it is a very emotionally moving statement and concept. Although it is a moving sentiment, how do we filter such a notion through the lens of Scripture?
The Scripture teaches there is no one good, not even one (Ps 14:3; Rom 3:12). Scripture also teaches that man is born inherently sinful (Rom 5:12,18,19). Based upon Scripture everyone is not good. Scripture also discounts the notion that some people are good and some are evil. Furthermore, Scripture dismisses the belief that people can behave in a way where they are judged as good enough to warrant a reward.
Therefore, if this is what Scripture teaches, dismissing most of the Christimas holiday cultural sentiments; how can believers and Christian families keep Christ and his biblical teaching in Christmas? Here are a few thoughts:
1) We must remember and teach that every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). Even the gifts “Santa” brings are gifts that the Father has put in the heart of “Santa” to give children. Santa must not become greater and more heroic than our heavenly Father and Sacrificial Savior. “Santa” would not know what the spirit of giving and genorisity is without Christ’s example.
2) We must remind our children that the reason why they should practice good behavior is not to get toys or rewards, but to please God. The telos is not rewards or toys, but God’s pleasure and glory. Some might say this is correct, but too much to teach our children. I beg to differ. We must begin teaching our children, from the beginning, about the glory, pleasure, and praise of our great God. I believe the reason why many teenagers and young adults turn away from biblical Christian faith is because of the failure of parents to live and teach in a way to give a true depiction of the grandness and glory of God—who he is, what he demands, and what he has done. (I just paused to ask Ellie why daddy and momma tell her and Caleb to be good. She answered and said because it pleases God.)
3. We must remind and teach our children that what Jesus accomplished through his death and resurrection, and our faith in him, are the only two things that determine our goodness. Our children need to grow up understanding that moral ascent does not make them good, nor does it label them Christians. Only Jesus’ finished work, applied to our life account, through faith in him, does.
So the truth is that we are all naughty and must bow in humble praise and adoration for our great God and Savior who died for naughty people, so that they may be made right with God and receive the most incredible excellent glorious gift ever—eternal life, living in the presence and majesty of God.