The Bad Theology of Santa Clause Comin’ to Town

The conversation from the backseat was illuminating. I quizzed the grand-kids about what they asked Santa to bring this year. After telling me their wish they followed up with this statement. “Unless we have been bad. Then maybe we won’t get it until next year.” I smiled and assured them that they were not bad. Parents have dangled that Santa “nice list” carrot to get good behavior for generations. Santa Clause is comin’ to town and you had better watch out because he is making a list. So no pouting, No crying. Better be on your best behavior or else. And that performance trap learned as a child waiting for Santa can also profoundly and dangerously impact Christians.  I am borrowing some content from my dear friend John Lynch, one of the authors of the The Cure. He addresses how we are programmed from childhood to default to performance theology. He calls it the “Santa Claus is Coming to Town
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Saint Nick

Not Always So Jolly Saint Nicholas

My nomination for the most obvious lyric ever written is awarded to the Beach Boys.  In their tune “Little Saint Nick” the boys gave us this incredibly helpful piece of information. Christmas comes this time each year! (To be faithful to the text I will show it in context) It’s the little Saint Nick Ooooo, little Saint Nick It’s the little Saint Nick Ooooo, little Saint Nick Ahhhhhh Oooooooo Merry Christmas Saint Nick Christmas comes this time each year!!!! So if the Christmas holiday has been sneaking up on you perhaps you haven’t noticed that Christmas comes at this time every single year! Thanks to the Beach Boys for that amazing insight. The Beach Boys song imagined Santa’s sleigh as a holiday hot rod but the homage to Saint Nick is intriguing. A little research on Saint Nicholas revealed that he could be both naughty and nice. First, a little background on his “saint” side. The fourth-century bishop of Myra (present-day Turkey) was the
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Concerned? Yes. Afraid? No.

Watching the news is depressing and even frightening. My first tendency is to react with fear about the future. But I can’t get around a couple of things that Jesus said about worry. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today”(Matthew 6:34, NLT) That is a true statement! But Jesus was not saying that my concerns are not valid or even important. He was saying that worrying about the future misses the point of what really matters. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” The key word is need. I long for wants but our Father promises only that my needs will be met. And over and over God tells us another thing. Do not be afraid. Over 80 times you find the phrase “do not be afraid” in the Bible. Perhaps the most relevant example is when
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santa maggie 2

Give a PERSONALIZED copy of Stay or Waking Up Slowly for Christmas!

Looking for a truly unique gift idea? How about giving a personalized edition of Stay:Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace or Waking Up Slowly to a friend or family member. Just go to your local Barnes and Noble, Christian book store or order one or both online. Send me your mailing address and how you want the book/books signed. I will mail you an autograph plate(s) that you can affix inside the book. Simple and very personal! Send your requests to dave@daveburchett.com or private message me on Facebook with your mailing info and requests. Merry Christmas!   Dave Burchett    
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No More Spiritual “Stats”

I live in the performance driven world of sports. We too often measure value not by character but by statistics like how many tackles for loss or how many yards gained per carry. Character is a nice bonus but performance is generally king. Recently I heard a comment from Northwestern University football coach Pat Fitzgerald about the impact of negative stats on a football player’s performance. Coaches often talk about the need to reduce “missed” tackles and they keep track of each miscue. Coach Fitzgerald has a different philosophy. His staff does not keep track of missed tackles at all. The staff evaluates each play by their effort even if it does not produce perfect results. His next comment stuck with me. “I don’t like to put negative results in their minds because you become what you think about.” It immediately hit me how profound that comment is for followers of Jesus. We tend to keep spiritual stats on failure.
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One Amazing Thing All of Us Can be Thankful For

A lot of folks on social media are writing about what they are thankful for this November. I have so much to be grateful for this year. Joni is now an eleven year cancer survivor. New grandbabies have joined the tribe. Good health to enjoy those little blessings. Wonderful family and friends. A job I enjoy. The truth is that most of the things on the list are out of my control. I can’t dictate Joni’s or my own health. I know that grandchildren are a gift some don’t get to enjoy. Job situations change without notice. Some may struggle with a family member or the betrayal of a friend. Thanksgiving may be a little less obvious for some reading these words this year. But there is one gift that is available to everyone. You don’t have to worry that it may change or go away. That gift is grace. The gift of being in a relationship with God and
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Acts of God

Committing Acts of God Make All the Difference

Our Sunday plans took a hard left turn yesterday morning. Instead of going to church Joni and I headed to the emergency room to check out a little medical scare. Thankfully all is well. But part of the process brought back some difficult memories from my bride’s cancer journey many years ago. As we went through the check-in process Joni began to tear up. The nurse filling in the paperwork stopped dead in her tracks and stood up. “Do you need a hug?” Then she leaned across the counter and gave my wife a hug. It was a remarkable example of remembering that all of us are in the people business. It was a moment that changed the narrative for both of us. In retrospect it was a pretty simple gesture. It cost this nurse about 30 seconds in her form filling task but it made a huge impact. Acts of kindness are something all of us can do and
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