Believing in Christmas…

Bible and Bell with text

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One of our family’s favorite Christmas movies is “The Polar Express”. We watch it every Christmas Eve right before bed; after reading the story of Jesus’ birth and “The Night Before Christmas”.  As the children travel to the North Pole on the Polar Express we drink hot chocolate and snuggle up under our favorite blankets in front of a roaring fire.

Something that I’ve come to realize about this movie is that most people either love the movie or they hate it. I happen to fall into the first category. There’s something else that I realized about this movie that I’d like to share with you. Did you ever notice that the children in the film don’t have names? The only child with a name is Billy…the little boy who at the end of the movie finds some new friends and a renewed belief in Santa and the magic of Christmas. The rest of the children don’t have names!

Now, I’ll admit that that’s a little odd however I happen to like it. Why? you ask. Well, I don’t watch movies I sort of unintentionally experience them. Wondering what I would do if I were in the main character’s shoes, how I would react to this or that comment, etc. Because of that I feel like I can relate more to a different character or characters in “The Polar Express” each Christmas.

The older I get the more I see the similarities between children believing in Santa and people believing in  Jesus.

 If believing in Santa is hard for some children because “Christmas just doesn’t work out for me” then wouldn’t that make sense for someone struggling to believe in Jesus?

For some of us it’s easy to see evidence of God and His works in our lives and we’re filled with faith believing that He is there and that He loves us. Then there’s those of us that are full of knowledge about the Bible yet struggle to live it out and can unintentionally come across like a bit of a know-it-all in an effort to help those around us. Others of us may have grown up in the church and live with Bible believing, Bible following families yet for one reason or another struggle to believe that it’s all true…even when the evidence is starring us in the face.

And then there’s those of us like Billy…We want desperately to believe, believe that Jesus exists and that He’s for us (Romans 8:38-39). But life hasn’t been easy and we wonder how a good God can allow such hard things if He really loves us. Or we may know that there’s this one thing that we need to let go of but struggle to trust that God’s got it all figured out and so we hold on to it as tightly as possible instead of clinging to the hand of God.

One of my favorite scenes in the whole movie is at the very end when the conductor punches the children’s tickets for the final time. By this point in the movie the kids eyes have been opened…they understand more, Some have come to believe in Santa, others have seen the reality of their faith, and some have seen an area or two in their lives that they need to work on.

The conductor knows this and encourages them. He doesn’t yell at them or say “I told you so!”. He LOVINGLY corrects them, instructs them, and encourages them. The children know that if nothing else he believes in them and is for them. Ya’ll isn’t God the same way? Yes, He’ll point out our mistakes and at times that does hurt. But He doesn’t do it intentionally to cause harm. He does it to show us that there’s a better way. He lovingly corrects us–after all if you really love someone you don’t want them to get hurt right? God’s the same way. He corrects us BECAUSE He loves us (Hebrews 12:6).

Then at the very end we hear the boy all grown up. Telling us that for many of those around him the bell has gone silent…even for those in his own family. But not for him because “The bell still rings for all who truly believe”.

I love this part because I’m reminded that it’s really just that simple. Belief and trust. We see it, we know it, now it’s just a matter of trusting that He is who He says He is. Others may walk away–but we know the truth and we’re choosing to live it out regardless of the cost because we know that in the end it will be worth it. I don’t know of a better song to end the film on than Josh Groban’s “Believe”. It sums it up perfectly. Life will bring it’s challenges and struggles but Christmas reminds us of the hope that we have and the belief that we have in a Higher Power that still does miracles!

Until next time,

Bailey Sue

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