Christmas is the best, isn't it? I know it's like 10 months away, but man... the smells, the chill in the air, the feeling of it all; if you ask me it's hands down the best time of the year. Especially the music. Gosh, who doesn't love a good Christmas carol? I've always loved the simple way a lot of them convey the joy of Jesus coming to earth. There was one in particular though that, as a small child, always kind of tripped me up. It was about Santa, and how he "sees us when you're sleeping" and how he "knows when you're awake" (sorry, I know that's stuck in your head now, forgive me). I can remember always thinking (other than being terrified by the thought of someone watching me when I sleep) wait a second... shouldn't this be about God? Doesn't He know if we've been bad or good? Who's this Santa guy think he is?
Fast forward a few years (with a little more theological understanding, as well as a pretty good grasp on modern Christmas traditions), and the truth hidden in that song still rings true; Santa may not be omnipotent, but our Father in heaven still has an intimate look into and understanding of our life and motives. This Sunday's sermon hit home when Pastor Marshall was talking about the three postures of motives and actions.
I know it's a struggle for me to be pure in action as well as motive. I know the right thing to do, and I do it for that reason, hoping that God won't find out my heart is cold to it. Or, whether I want to admit it or not, so that everyone will see me being holy even though I don't care as much as I'd like them to think I do. I think far too often we think we can trick God, or at least keep our true motives hidden from Him, like He won't notice because He's in heaven.
But God still sees us, and is still invested in our lives. What a freeing thought that is! Instead of being beaten down by that, knowing God can totally call our bluff, the truth is we are free to have a pure heart along with our actions, because everything we do is really for Him. He sees us where we are, so we don't have to play dress up in our hearts for Him, like we need to impress Him. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can get to a place in Jesus where action and motive are both pure.
So yes, the truth is God is a better figure for that Christmas carol than Santa is. He's in heaven, but He still sees us and knows us and is with us. I hope that encourages you as much as it has me, to align my heart and actions with His.