Naughty or Nice?
Well…here I am after several months of not posting on my blog. The year has been tremendously busy with caring for elderly parents (topic of another blog). But, I confess, I was also doubting myself and wondering why I ever thought anyone would ever want to read what I had to say. But, a recent incident just compelled me to put thought to paper (or electronic tablet).
My 4 year-old grandson, Sawyer, recently woke up one morning on the wrong side of bed. For whatever reason, he was being particularly and very deliberately naughty. First, he was playing with the family’s Elf on a Shelf. For those who don’t know…one must NEVER touch Elfie or he will lose his magic. After Sawyer was admonished for that, he then defiantly went around the house pushing Christmas decorations on the floor and knocking things off the walls. Sawyer’s parents work hard to make sure there are decorations for the children which belong to them and that they are allowed to be played with. But, they also make it very clear which decorations are to be admired but not touched. Sawyer stopped at nothing that morning to make his grumpiness known.
Out of frustration, Sawyer’s dad downloaded an app which allowed him to give Santa a call. (I know…there is an app for everything.) Anyway, after talking with Santa, Sawyer was informed that he had been placed on the ‘naughty’ list. I admit that I found the entire episode to be rather amusing. But, unfortunately, while it got Sawyer’s attention, he also took the phone call to heart.
Sawyer is a tough little boy and he is the last one to tell you if he is hurting. So, even though “Santa” told him that there was plenty of time to get back on the ‘nice’ list, Sawyer had resignedly decided that he had already blown his chances for getting anything from Santa. He was devastated.
I felt so badly for our little tough guy. How sad to feel so helpless and so hopeless. How many of us have felt that way at at least some time in our lives? And it’s especially hard when we realize that we are personally responsible for consequences in our lives. That’s where Sawyer was a week ago.
This got me thinking about the entire naughty/nice scenario and what this means to children. I tried explaining to Sawyer that we are all naughty…even grown-ups. But, that our goal is to be nice more often than naughty. I truly don’t think he really heard what I said.
I am a great fan of Santa Claus. (Elf on a Shelf…not so much.) I collect Santa figurines and the are in every corner of my house at Christmas. But, when I asked Sawyer what Christmas was about. He responded “Santa and getting presents”. This didn’t surprise me. It’s the response I would expect from a 4 year-old. And while I think that Santa is a delightful part of Christmas, he isn’t the reason for the season.
I must clarify that Sawyer’s parents don’t place undue emphasis on Santa and they both have a deep, abiding faith in Jesus. It is their goal to raise their children to have a personal relationship with our Lord as well. So, it’s not as if Sawyer hasn’t heard the story of Jesus. It’s just that he is a little boy and that he is focused on those things that are exciting to little boys…and that’s Santa and getting presents.
But Jesus is indeed the reason for the season…and I think He also can be tied to the entire “Naughty or Nice” concept. There is no elf reporting to Santa whose naughty because we are all naughty. However, Jesus came to earth and it’s as if all our names were crossed off the naughty list and, instead, were replaced by his name. And, the incredible gift that we can receive is not a gift from Santa but is rather the gift of salvation. It isn’t by doing nice things at all. It’s all about the grace of God.
I know that someday Sawyer will truly understand the real reason for the season. He just needs a few more years under his belt. Oh, and after another call to Santa, Sawyer was excited to find out that he had been put back on the ‘nice’ list.