Dave Burchett wrote an excellent piece recently that was titled 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' Theology, in which he discussed that we are programmed from childhood to default to "performance theology."
Thus, it's called the “Santa-Claus-Is-Coming-To-Town-Theology” and don't think it hasn't had a significant impact on us - it has. Just think about it for a moment:
You better watch out
Better not cry
Better not pout
I am telling you why
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
He's making a list…checking it twice
Gonna find out who's naughty and nice
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
He sees you when your sleeping,
knows when your awake,
he knows when you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake.
Oh, he's watching! Waiting for you to screw up so you will get coal instead of a bicycle. You had better please him. And we teach our kids to put on the mask and be something they are not all because "Santa Claus is comin’ to town."
This omniscient being who is judging our every deed is coming to town, and we learn to do the dance early. Buck up, be good! Don't cry! Don't pout. Santa Claus is coming to town (© Copyright 2003, William Thrall, Bruce McNicol, John Lynch. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.).
He's absolutely right. The challenge for all of us is to not only "deprogram" ourselves from this mode of thinking, but to also ensure that we don't pass on an erroneous theology to our children.
As Burchett writes, "Ask any child this Christmas if they are being good and I will wager you will never hear this response. 'Well, to be honest, I am really struggling with the whole being nice thing. I have actually been pouty and I cried yesterday. It just isn’t working out this Christmas so I suspect the video game system will have to wait.'"
Exactly. That's the danger of allowing this deceptive form of theology to become rooted in your life. First, you subconsciously believe that your actions are what save you. Second, you learn to lie to yourself and fail to recognize your need to admit and repent of your sins.
Burchett hits home with a powerful analysis and cuts to the heart of the matter:
"Isn’t that too often how we view God? We had better not cry. Better not sin. I’m telling you why. Jesus is coming to town. He’s making a list and He is checking it not once or twice but every moment of every day. God knows if you’ve been bad or good so if you want to be healed or happy or prosperous you had better be good for goodness sake. If I do mess up I am scared to death that I will get a bad life or miss all that God has for me. So I put on the mask and try to be really good for Jesus. If I can fool those around me maybe, just maybe, I can fool God too. Satan sells the lie so convincingly. And we buy it for months and years and even decades. But God and Santa are very different in their approach. God does not keep a list. He is not impressed by our hernia inducing straining to control sin. What God sees is Jesus in Dave Burchett when I sin."
We are saved by grace and faith in Jesus Christ. Thank the Lord for grace!
"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" Theology
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