"Seeing isn't believing, but believing is seeing" ... "Just because you haven't seen something, doesn't mean it isn't real" ... "Sometimes the most real things are the things you can't see" ...
These are quotes from movies like, The Santa Clause and The Polar Express, and I am sure there are similar quotes in other traditional Christmas movies. So they got me thinking as we continue on this Advent journey in 2014 about the role belief in Santa Claus might play in our world today.
I will admit that for years I railed against the belief in Santa Claus as a distraction from the truth about Jesus. Like a classic episode of South Park, I pitted Santa Claus against Jesus in a dueling death match. But I am coming to a different opinion the more I consider the role Santa Claus, and the poem "The Night Before Christmas" play in the world today.
Believing in something we can't see is one of the most challenging obstacles to believing the good news about Jesus. It's not just that we can't see Him now, and that we have to rely on the eyewitness accounts of His contemporaries, but it is that even many of His contemporaries refused to hear or acknowledge the truth as Jesus told it to them.
This morning I was watching part of the movie The Santa Clause with my children. As I saw Scott Calvin being persecuted for who he had become (Santa Claus), and the things he said about his experience, I realized that Jesus was treated much the same way simply for telling the truth. Only in both cases it was a truth that people were not ready to hear or believe.
Now I am not saying that Santa Claus is real, or that the movie The Santa Clause portrays the truth. But what I am saying is that these movies, and the idea of Santa Claus, do offer a window into the fantastic world of faith.
Consider these scriptures in light of some of the quotes I shared above.
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18)
"For we live by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7)
These two quotes come from the same letter Paul sent to the church at Corinth, a church who was losing their faith and beginning to rely only on what they could see with their own two eyes. To them Paul reaffirms the role of faith in receiving the wondrous blessings God has for everyone who is in Christ.
I pray that this Christmas, we will learn to see again with the eyes of faith, we will look with wonder at the amazing events surrounding the story of Jesus' birth, and we see the fantastic world of faith revealed through the eternal Son of God, who took on flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem.
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you! May there be peace on earth, and may it begin with us, as we journey together along the Way ...