Last week I confessed my love for the Carols of our faith … and the Holiday Classics. There is, however, one song that always bothers me. It was cowritten by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn and sung by my favorite Christmas crooner, Bing Crosby. It has a melody that imbeds easily in your neural synapsis and runs ad nauseam until supplanted by another song of equal or greater irritation. But that’s not what bothers me. I object strongly to the words of “Santa Clause is Coming to Town.” The song is a brazen Christmas power-grab.
He sees you when you’re sleepin’
He knows when you’re a wake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake
The song takes attributes only belonging to God (Omniscience and Omnipresence) and attributes them to a fictitious fat man. There is only One who sees you when you’re sleeping. What a comfort to hear the words of the Psalmist … He who watches over you will not slumber (Psalm 121:3). There is only One who has the global awareness of your waking and walking through this life. What a comfort to hear Jesus say … Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31).
The other aspect of this song that bothers me is the blatant motivation to goodness based on earning Santa’s favor. This is the polar opposite of the Gospel. God saw mankind’s inability to be good and met the requirements of his own righteousness at his own expense.
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!    Romans 5:8-10