One little boy sent a letter to Santa Claus that said: “Dear Santa, you did not bring me anything good last year. You did not bring me anything good the year before that. This is your last chance. Signed, Alfred.”

Another went like this: “Dear Santa, there are three little boys who live at our house. There is Jeffrey; he is 2. There is David; he is 4. And there is Norman; he is 7. Geoffrey is good some of the time. David is good some of the time. But Norman is good all of the time. I am Norman.”

Most of us, I suppose, would like to think we are Normans. But let’s face it–we’re not. But then, leaving Santa out of the picture for a moment, if God were to come only to people who are worthy at this Christmas season, a lot of us would be left out.

Bruce Thielemann told the story of Al Masters, who lived in eastern Pennsylvania. He was married, and had a little boy and a small business. He thought of himself as having a good life.

Then shortly before Christmas some years ago, a 15-year old boy without a license was driving a car that killed Al’s little boy. We can understand why Al was filled with revenge. He wanted the book thrown at that teen. However, since the lad was 15, a juvenile, he could not be brought before the full power of the law.

On Christmas Eve, Al’s wife got him to go to church. When he heard the old story of Christmas, it touched his heart. In fact, he began to weep. The next day, on Christmas, Al went to find the boy who killed his son. He learned that the boy came from a broken home and lived with his mother, who was an alcoholic.

Al went and met the boy and gave him a job in his shop. Later, he even took him into his home. That boy, now a man, says Al Masters is the most saintly person he’s ever known.

God comes down at Christmas to meet people like Al Masters and you and me and turn us into people who live and move in the likeness of Christ.

I know this Advent season finds you busy. I hope it also finds you searching your heart once again, to be sure the true spirit of Christmas–the Spirit of Jesus himself–resides there. Like the apostle Paul, I hope you can say, “I want to know Christ” (Philippians 3:10).

Ron McClung is assistant general secretary for The Wesleyan Church.