For some reason my five year old son continues to tell me the he’s probably on the naughty list this year. Each time I ask him why and he always gives me a different answer. One time it will be because he hit his sister and another time it will be because he was mean to his brother, or it will be because he pinky swore and then broke his promise. He never seems to have the same reason for feeling that he deserves this awful fate. But every time I encourage him and tell him that he’s not on the naughty list and that Santa understands that hitting happens sometimes, it’s part of life. He then will smile at me and go back to destroying his sister’s Barbie dolls with his Star Wars guys.
If you’re at all human you can probably relate to my son’s feelings of guilt and unworthiness. We often feel like the mistakes we have made in our lives will forever put us on the naughty list with God. We think that because of our many wrongs there is no way that God will accept us, hear our prayers or help us in our time of need.
Well nothing could be further from the truth. Scripture tells us that “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him.” (John 3:17-18) God proved his acceptance of us by sending us his Son, Jesus Christ. The one we celebrate on Christmas.
God didn’t wait until we were perfect and had a nice streak for a year. He sent his Son while we were still making mistakes. Actually, before we even started making mistakes. We didn’t have to earn any merit badges, say a bunch of repetitive prayers, give a bunch of money… In fact there is nothing we could have done. God’s acceptance could only be given to us as a gift. And it was given by the gift of his Son. All we have to do is believe in Jesus Christ, the gift.
Maybe this Christmas you are like my son and you feel that you are forever on the Naughty List with God. Let me remind you this Christmas that God accepts you just like you are, mistakes and all. He proved his immense acceptance and love for you through the gift of his Son. The greatest thing you could do this Christmas is to give all your guilt to Jesus and rest in his acceptance.