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Jesus Should Be More Like Santa

October 30th daily blog devotional by Mel Montgomery and Keith Wayne Edwards


Read:


Ephesians 1:18


I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,


I stood in a mall during Christmas time years ago and watched a mall Santa. It was interesting. Children came right up to him without any fear at all. He was sitting there alone, and I watched this little 3 or 4-year-old girl pull away from her mother, walk all by herself with no prompting, and she climbed up on Santa's lap and put her arm around his neck. To see a child leave her mother and go to a stranger caught my attention. After the girl left, I walked up to the man who was portraying Santa and I asked him, "What I just saw that girl do--walk up to you with no fear--is that normal?" He replied, "Oh yes." I asked further, "You mean children aren't sometimes afraid of you? You're sitting there, a large man, dressed in bright clothes, wearing a long beard which children rarely see--children never react in fear to you?" He said, "I've done this for a number of years, and for a child to be afraid of me is a very rare occurrence. Perhaps only once or twice in all the years, I've done this. They know Santa loves them and can be trusted." This made a deep impression on me. Another incident that made a strong impression on me was visiting a prayer room in an old-line Pentecostal church before the service began. People were hollering and praying. I looked over at a young child, a boy perhaps 5, kneeling on the floor. He was crying and screaming hysterically. His father was standing over him, shouting, "You better let Jesus know you're sorry!" The child fearfully screamed, "I'm sorry Jesus! I'm SORRY JESUS!" The father continued, "I MEAN YOU BETTER LET JESUS KNOW YOU'RE REALLY SORRY BOY FOR WHAT YOU DONE OR HE WON'T FORGIVE YOU!" Even more hysterically the child screamed, "I'M SORRY JESUS FOR WHAT I DID! I'm REALLY, REALLY SORRY!" The father continued, "BOY, YOU BETTER REALLY MEAN IT!" The boy screamed even louder, "I REALLY MEAN IT JESUS! I'M REALLY, REALLY, REALLY SORRY JESUS!" Sickened, I could listen to no more, and I left. Strange how so many Christians teach children to have no fear of Santa because Santa loves them unconditionally. But they teach their children to fear a disapproving Jesus who loves them only when they are good. It is surprising how many children, raised in traditional Pentecostal or extremely strict Christian homes, reject the faith when they are older and throw themselves into sin. That boy in the prayer room--where will he end up? Probably out in the world, hating God, hating Christ, and bitter against the faith that you and I have found to be so rich and life changing. Or he may very well end up screaming at his own fearful son in a prayer room somewhere. The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in. Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them."--Mark 10:13,14 The Message Bible.

Children's image of Jesus needs to be more like their understanding of Santa--trustworthy, on their side, with them in the difficult times of life, ready to quickly forgive their sins and mistakes, and loving them with a love that survives the ages.


comment by Keith Edwards:

I want us to see ourselves how God really sees us. He loves us, and we need a revelation of His love in our lives like never before. To see ourselves how God sees us will give us that strength and power to walk in the spirit of God. It will help us to do what we can't do in our own strength, and it will give us a healthy fear that will allow us to look up at Daddy God and tell him, "I love you, Father!"

Prayer:

Lord, we ask that you give us the right perspective on who you really are. We pray for our children and youth of today, and we ask that we would impart who you really are in a world that is full of self, pride, and lack of trust. Amen.

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