Santa Claus, the Naughty List, and teaching my kids the meaning of Grace.

We interrupt our regular scheduled 40 life lessons I learned before Age 40 to bring you a special blogpost.

“ I don’t know if I’m on the naughty list.”

My 5 year old is a bundle of energy. She is artistic, colorful and often finds herself on the “wrong side of the law.” Impulse control is tough when life is so much fun.
crooked halo.jpg

Recently, my family made a video for all our donors to be distributed for Christmas. After the shoot in which “Butterfly” had been up to her usual shenanigans, we sat each of the kids down and asked them the meaning of Christmas to record an annoying parent’s video moment.

Now, we aren’t “Santa isn’t real” people. Neither are we the other side. So my 2 little ones are still lost in the mystery and my 10 year old knows that it’s mom and dad, but still is a little uncertain. So the naughty and nice list is important. Especially with so many movies capitalizing on it. Alana, in her reflections on Christmas, came out with a secret fear, one we didn’t know she had.  “I don’t know if I’m on the naughty list.”

Later that evening, on the way to Wednesday night church, the topic came up again. And suddenly I had one of those rare moments when I felt I got it right.

“Honey, don’t worry,” I told my little angel with a crooked halo, “mommy and daddy are going to buy you presents, whether you are good or bad. Because we love you. No other reason.” 3 pairs of ears listening attentively, and all the sudden I had that moment of hopefully instilled the grace of God and the character of God into my little ones.

The message of Christmas is so often lost, the “naughty or nice” manipulated for a brief moment in time. However, rare the parent who actually follows through, which in turn sends a double message. Behave right before Christmas, but most transgressions don’t matter. The second message that is more subtle and insidious is “earn it.”

Grace means we get the greatest gift of all. Grace means that although we all all on the naughty list, we get it all. Not because of what we’ve done, but because God loves you.

At least that’s what I hope my kids took away. Because goodness knows I need grace too as a dad.

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