Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.
What if he does check the list?
What if he really does checks it twice????
some friends of mine
shared with me a Christmas tradition from their household.
the children would write letters to Santa.
Nothing too unusual there.
It would seem
that Santa not only had time to bring gifts to each household on planet Earth,
but he had time to write responses back.
Here are some letters to and from Santa that I read
and my interpretations as
I read between the lines.
We have been very good this year.
I have a present for you.
My brother likes you.
My sister wants a cupcake doll.
Mom wants peace and love.
Dad wants happiness.
The cookies and milk are for you.
The carrot is for Rudolph.
The pan of water is for all the reindeer
Being the oldest sister, I am not like my younger sister,
who wants things. I am a giver.
As for my brother, I believe he is psychologically wired
to give affection only based upon what he receives in return.
Mom needs a trip to the spa.
Dad really needs to take a long golfing trip without the kids.
Rudolph is our favorite reindeer so who cares what the others have to eat.
Please enjoy the cookies and cider we put out for you.
How are you? Have the elves got the sniffles yet?
I know I have a cough.
Are we the first or second half of the world you are covering?
We think we have been good but we might have acted bad
but you probably think we have been good though,...
More high calorie snacks for you.
This won't help your probably already high triglyceride levels.
If you haven't gotten sick yet, you are screwed
because I have a major cold and am highly contagious.
I just wondered if we receive the best gifts
or just get what's leftover.
As for our behavior this year,
who are we kidding....
A response from Santa.....
I know that all of you have been very good this past year.
I was surprised to see that you have a new puppy this year,
She was very friendly after I gave her a chew treat.
Your other pets really look well cared for.
I was pleased to see such clean cages
(except for the fish aquarium which looked a little dirty)
Try to do your best in school this year.
Oh, I almost forgot. I understand that sometimes you have a hard time
hearing your Mom and Dad so I left a few Q-tips for cleaning out your ears.
See you next year,
Why didn't you tell me about the new dog?
She almost bit my leg off before I diverted her attention
by throwing her a piece of raw steak.
Unless that aquarium gets some attention,
I am going to tell your parents to boycott your birthday gifts.
Let's hit the school books a little harder, okay?
Oh, and regarding your inability to hear,
you aren't fooling anyone.
Another Santa response......
You are three of my favorite children in the whole world.
I have received no calls to check up on your household this year.
please try and be patient as you can with your younger sister.
She really looks up to her older sister.
I heard that you like hockey, which is one of my favorite sports
up here in the North Pole.
I really liked your Christmas Bear you were sleeping with tonight.
I have one just like it.
See you next year!
Hey, the three of you.
You need to know that your parents will narc on you
if you don't behave.
Oldest sister, I know the youngest cries all the time.
Deal with it.
I guess you wanted a hockey stick. Sorry, All I had left was a basketball.
you need to know that I was in your room while you were sleeping.
Don't bother with a home security system.
I'll still get in next year.
And one final letter from the oldest child.........
Dear Santa Claus,
I wish I new (sic) what you looked like. This is my list of what I want.
I want a brown dog like my pink one.
Santa, I have a question.
Could you put my presents in my room?
Here are directions.
Go up the stairs. When you get to the top
you should see a room with pink carpet. Go past that one and you
should see a room with orange carpet. Go into that room and you should
see my Christmas tree.
Oh about my list,
I want it to snow.
Do you really wear that red jump suit?
I think you would look better in fuchsia.
When my dog got skunked this year,
I bathed him in tomato juice to help get rid of the stench.
All that did was make him pink.
Please get me a new, non-stench dog.
I plan on playing with my toys without my irritating siblings.
Please bring all gifts directly to my room.
Here is how you get there...........
Oh, my wish list now includes meteorological demands.
Let's get this snow thing going....
My guess as to Santa's response to the last letter....
Dear little girl,
no need for directions to your room.
I have staked out the house and am quite aware of where you all sleep
(see next to last letter........)
That should keep you awake at night.
We all have our wish lists.
The reality is that for most people
prayer life is often more like a child's letter to Santa
than a beloved child's conversation with their heavenly Father.
What if prayer came down to finding out who is naughty or nice?
Who among us would pass that test ??
(See Isaiah 64:6 or Romans 3:10)
What if our prayers were only for ourselves or those whom we love?
How close would we be to seeing things the way God sees them?
(See Matt 6:13)
What if prayer came down to the things that we want?
How close to the heart of God would it be?
What if we prayed for His will to be done,
in our thoughts???
in our actions???
What if as we hold our candles
and sing Silent Night,
we see our loving Father
who wants nothing but the best for us,
and that the best for us is simply to more fully know His heart?
How different would things be?
Your Christmas may or may not be white......
it certainly wasn't snowing in Bethlehem.
It may or may not be merry......
there was very little that was merry about
the Holy family escaping the region before Herod's raging.
My hope for us all this Christmas,
is that our hearts indeed prepare Him more room than ever before.
and in doing so,
we give up on naughty or nice,
and instead embrace his holiness.
How silently, how silently
so God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming
but in this world of sin,
where meek so will receive Him,
still the dear Christ enters in.
O Little Town of Bethlehem verse 2
words by Phillip Brooks
a special thanks to my dear friends for giving me permission to share their letters
and to offer my interpretations