My 4 year old was worried about the naughty list. Her, shall we say, “impulse control” is sometimes missing. After one little altercation in the car on the way to church, her little voice piped from the back row of the minivan.
“Will I not get any presents for Christmas?”
The frustrated father in me wanted to tell her, “That’s right, little miss! You better straighten up and watch yourself!”
But somewhere from deep within another voice broke through my parental frustration.
“Honey, mommy and daddy will get you gifts whether you are good or not.”
Her shock was apparent “ What?”
“Honey, Jesus died for us, despite of that fact that we were very much on the naughty list. It’s called grace. You get what you don’t deserve.
Honey, mommy and daddy give you gifts because we love you, not because you are naughty or nice.”
I’ve often wondered how to teach my children the concept of grace. I think I stumbled onto something that day.
The message of Christmas is that we were all on the naughty list. We were all destined to get far worse than a lump of coal. Yet born in a manager that morning was a gift we did not deserve, the greatest gift of all.
Now I just have to get them to be nice some other way.