A poem by Simon Camilleri
When Santa learned the gospel, he first heard it from an elf.
This tiny Santa’s helper had just learnt of it himself.
A child had asked for Christmas to receive a Bible book.
This elf had made one in the shop, then paused to have a look.
He read all about Jesus and the call to follow Him.
He learned how Jesus lived and taught and died to pay for sin.
He learned how Jesus rose again and how He will return
And then this elf read how he should respond to all he’d learned.
He shut the book, put down his tools, then closed his eyes and prayed.
Right there and then this little elf trusted in Christ that day.
The next day he told Santa. It was awkward, unprepared.
He knew he didn’t know that much, but what he knew he shared.
He told Santa the gospel. It was simple. It was short.
But a seed was sown in Santa’s heart, which grew into a thought.
Santa reflected on his life and the message he supported,
Then compared it to the gospel that the elf had just reported.
He’d always thought that everyone was naughty or was nice.
He had them all on two big lists. He even checked it twice.
He’d always thought that you got gifts only if you’d been good.
The naughty kids got lumps of coal. That’s what he understood.
They’d all line up in shopping malls and sit upon his knee
And claim that they were always nice. As nice as nice can be.
Of course, he saw them when they slept and knew when they awoke.
He also knew their nice attempts were pretty much a joke.
Their heads were filled not with nice thoughts of kindness, peace and joy,
But with the never-ending list of their desired toys.
He knew their hearts, but he had thought, “They’re trying to be good.
That’s good enough to make the list. Otherwise no one would!”
So every year their “good enough” with toys would be rewarded.
And every year (he realized) this message he supported:
THE “GOOD” WILL GET THE PRESENTS.
THE “BAD” WILL GET THE COAL.
AND TRYING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH
IS GOOD ENOUGH A GOAL.
That was the message that he knew, but now he knew another.
He had just heard the gospel. So he compared them to each other.
The message of the gospel turned his message upside down.
The good, the bad, naughty and nice, it switched it all around.
“There’s no one good but God alone” he’d heard Jesus concluded.
And those who claim they’re “good enough” are simply just deluded.
If there’s a list of who is “good”, the standard we’ve all missed.
And Santa saw that even he was on the naughty list.
That shook his world. That rocked his boat. That gripped him in his soul.
To think that even Santa Claus deserved a lump of coal.
But that was only half of what the gospel message said.
It also flipped what happened to the naughty on its head.
Instead of being written off as just not good enough.
The message to the naughty list was one of grace and love.
The gospel offered mercy to all those deserving coal.
The gospel offered forgiveness and cleansing of your soul.
The gospel told how Jesus died our death to pay the price
To reconcile us all to God – both naughty and the nice.
This offer was a real gift, unlike presents ‘neath the tree.
It was not earned by being good. It was offered for free.
For all his life Santa had claimed that if you had been bad
Then you would not get presents and your Christmas would be sad.
Santa compared his message with this new one he had learned.
His message said you get the presents your good deeds had earned.
The message of the gospel offered something so much greater…
Jesus had come to reconcile the world to their Creator.
When Santa grasped the gospel, he did not know what to do
And so the elf said nervously, “How ’bout I pray with you?”
Then that night at the North Pole, by the fire in his den,
With a simple prayer led by an elf, Santa was born again.
And now, in Christ, forgiven, free – his new life had begun
and Santa had a new message to share with everyone.
© Simon Camelleri
Posted, December 2017
Every day we experience good news and bad news. Life is a mixture of both. But the news media often gives us more bad news than good news. Did you know that the Bible contains both good news and bad news?
The main message in the New Testament is called the “gospel”, which means “good news”. It’s good news about bad news. To understand it we need to understand the bad news first.
In the beginning of time, God made everything. It was very good. Everything was as God intended and people were in harmony with God. It was good news at the start.
But it didn’t stay that way very long because the first people rebelled against God. Their rebellion affected all God’s creation causing suffering, problems, disease and death. Things were no longer as God intended and people weren’t in harmony with God. That’s bad news. It’s our greatest problem.
So we live in a world that has been influenced by both good and bad news.
Jesus came to bring good news once again. To right the wrongs and solve the problems. But He does this in two stages and we live between them, between His first visit to earth and His second visit. He is the central theme of the gospel (or good news). The verses of Scripture that mention “Jesus” or “Christ” and “gospel” or “good news” are about Christ’s death, resurrection, glory (His second visit), His promise (of eternal life), the peace He brings, the fact that He can replace death with life and immortality, and His judgment of our lives.
That’s the message of the Bible. It’s the whole gospel. It’s not a human idea, but it’s God’s idea (Gal. 1:11).
The Bible says that the gospel is “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16NIV). This power comes from God when people repent by turning towards God. God has already done His part, but we can only experience it if we do our part. It’s of no value to those who don’t accept it (Heb. 4:2).
So, let’s remember the whole gospel story. Why it’s good news about bad news. This is important because many people don’t know about the early history of our earth and humanity given in the Bible.
Written, July 2015