niggling at the back of my head

JOURNEYAdvent’s over and Christmas is in full swing and a thought has been niggling at the back of my brain for weeks. Years probably. Throughout this entire Advent season for sure. The tune Santa Clause is Coming to Town has been that ear worm driving the niggling. Why, oh why? Ear worms often make no sense whatsoever until they go away or irritate the snot out of a person.

He’s makin’ a list, checkin’ it twice
He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice

That whole naughty or nice thing and Santa “finding out” has irritated me for years. I’ve thought the song and notion behind it are a feeble attempt to get children to behave well and instill a sense of fear of someone that should engender a sense of love and kindness and mercy. Santa Clause, St. Nicholas modeled kindness and generosity trying to do so in a hidden way as it was not his intention to be found out in his gift giving. It mattered not to the kindly bishop if these girls were naughty or nice, it mattered that the family was in need and he could help.

The thing is we often think that God keeps tabs on us this way as well. That God keeps that Naughty and Nice list that is attributed to Santa. But the “problem” with God is that Mercy and Grace lead. Hence the Cross and all that led up to it. God loves us so much that when we deliberately turn away from him, take our inheritance as well loved children of a Loving God, there is no hesitation in loving us and celebrating our return. It’s our choice to return to his Grace and Mercy – through the Cross. All we have to do is seek it out. We are the ones who keep the naughty and nice list, making those decisions often with a recklessness that further divides our relationship. It is an act on our part rather than a decision on God’s part.

I know I keep going back to that Prodigal story but it’s so rich and exemplifies God’s Mercy and Grace so well…The younger son confesses his sins to the father and his father loves and embraces him. The younger son takes action, he owns his actions, he owns it. He takes responsibility. And the Father just loves him, taking him home, celebrating the return. King David calls out for God’s Mercy, owning his sinful ways in Psalm 51. David trusts in God’s Compassion and Mercy.

God is setting the example of Mercy and Grace and Compassion. And in this moment God is speaking to my heart in an expected way. I’m holding on to something. Sigh.

My mind is reeling with how this relates to quilting, how to related this to the quilting community. How it’s important to be kind and welcoming and how to (at least on my part) be better at that. Today it’s all relational. Quilting is as much about the relationships as it is about technique. Both are important. Both need to be nurtured. Both need to be pruned, weeded out. Figuring out what works, what doesn’t; what to keep, what to let go; what to accept for what it is and what to work on changing.

Happy Quilting and God bless!


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