Photo by Srikanta H. U on Unsplash

He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good; so be good for goodness sake. Oh…You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not shout, I’m telling you why…”

So the old song goes.

Thankfully, God is nothing like Santa Claus.

I have been reading a lot of psalms this Advent season and one of the things that constantly strikes me is that there is no limit on the crying and shouting. Every human emotion is present in the lines of the poems that make up the book of psalms.

There is no holding back.

There are no holds barred.

There is just pure unadulterated emotion and passion. The psalmists pour out everything that is within them to their God. It is uncomfortable to read some their words.

There are times when I think, “Wow. I can’t believe they wrote that and left it for posterity.”

At other times I think, “I wish my relationship with God were so honest and real.”

In Psalm 38 David writes,

I am utterly spent and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. O Lord, all my longing is known to you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes — it has also gone from me.

He is in misery. Yet, he turns his heart to God in brutal honesty.

Later in the psalm he writes,

But it is for you, O LORD, that I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.

I am coming to learn that it is this unyielding belief that God sees and knows and will answer that drives David to brutal honesty with God. Because he is confident that God sees, he knows that he can cry out with our reservation.

Unlike Santa, God does not want us quiet and good. God wants us authentic and real. He wants us passionate and honest. God wants us to know him and be in relationship with him.

The God who sees is ready for us to cry and ready for us to shout because he knows all too well our pain and our struggles.

How does he know that?

Because after Advent comes Christmas.

Originally published at on December 12, 2018.