On Christmas Eve our kids were being so bad that I wrote on Facebook:

“I hope Santa isn’t watching because my kids should be on the naughty list.”

Santa Claus is an interesting character. He rewards your good behavior and gives you coal (or worse) for bad behavior. He has little elves who help check up on children to see if they should be on the nice list or on the naughty list. Santa is a fun little story, and a great tool for parents to get their kids to behave during November and December, but it’s nothing like the story of Jesus.

The Jesus Christmas story puts us all on the naughty list. The beauty of this story is that, despite the fact that we are ALL on the naughty list, the gift of Jesus was for every single one of us. Nobody would make the “nice list” if it depended on our own merit. We are all naughty. We don’t deserve anything from God, which is why the incarnation is so incomprehensible.

How could a God love us so much that, even though we seem to find new ways each day to outdo our own unrighteousness, He would choose to come to this world to save us? Every Christmas we talk about how the fact that Jesus was born in a manger teaches us about His humility. The reality is that Jesus could have been born in any earthly palace and it would have been nothing compared to His glorious throne above. The amazing fact about the incarnation is that He would choose to do it at all.

It is one thing to give up your life for someone who loves you back or for someone who might deserve it a little, but to give up your place in glory, come and live in a sin-filled world with sinners all around you, get taken advantage of by people, be betrayed by one of your closest allies, and then be punished and crucified for those who hate you is a completely illogical thing to do. But thank God He is illogical.

We can’t comprehend Him. We don’t understand it. As much as I have tried to understand why anyone would do what Jesus did for me, I can’t. It’s simply His love. It has nothing to do with my behavior. It has everything to do with who He is. He is love.

And that is Christmas.

(image by LadyDragonfly on flickr)