Santa Claus is coming to town.  He knows whether you have been naughty or nice so be good for goodness sake.  We know these words well, we all grew up with them and they are still heard on the radio every year at this time.  Everyone is excited about Santa coming but if you look at the words also a little fearful.  What if you weren’t nice enough?  What if you are on the naughty list this year?  Are you going to get a lump of coal in your stocking?  For the most part with Santa, if you are naughty, you will not receive anything for Christmas from him.  You don’t have to worry that Santa might take you out while you sleep, or instead of coming down your chimney, set your house on fire.  We hope he comes and if he does we greet him with milk and cookies, but if he doesn’t you can always use that lump of coal for barbecuing.  

Jesus is also coming to town this Christmas, actually this Advent and Christmas.  A lot more is at stake with Jesus though.  He also knows whether you have been naughty or nice and if you are on the naughty list when he comes for the second time, being taken out or having your house burned down is the least of your worries.  The season of Advent prepares us for Christmas and beyond.  The first Sunday reminds us that Jesus is coming back a second time sometime in the future; we wait for that with great anticipation.  The second and third Sunday reminds us that Jesus has come to preach and proclaim the kingdom of God and also comes to us every day in our lives now.  The fourth Sunday prepares us for his first coming as a baby at Christmas. 

When it comes to naughty or nice we know what group we fall into there, the naughty group, the sinful group, the group deserving the fiery lump of coal.  And yet we can wait for our Lord with confidence and peace because, unlike Santa Claus, Jesus gives gifts to those on the naughty list.  In fact it is the naughty that he has come to save for himself.  See Jesus didn’t come for the nice people, no on the cross Jesus died for all the naughty boys and girls in the world, instead of a lump of coal they get forgiveness and eternal life.  The naughty or nice list has been replaced by the unforgiven or forgiven list.  Through your faith in Christ you are on the forgiven list.  So Merry Christmas, Jesus is coming to town!

Pastor Fred