*** For any children, or children at heart, beware. There is a Christmas spoiler lying in the following post. So, I would advise not reading today and waiting till tomorrow’s post.
I am a believer. It is just how I am wired and how I approach life. Somewhere along the way I decided life was fuller and more fun if I sought to believe in the impossible instead of allowing myself to approach life with cynicism and doubt. My wife, Carissa, gives me a little bit of a hard time because of this.
Are there aliens out there among us? Maybe.
Do restless souls wander around haunting homes and people? Possible…though I lean more towards the demonic than ghosts.
Does an ancient dinosaur wander the deep waters of Loch Ness? It is possible.
How does Bigfoot and the Yeti avoid being spotted?
Does Santa Claus visit us on Christmas Eve each year and give us presents and eat our cookies?Well…
Okay, so unlike ghosts, aliens, and a few other things that I have chosen to believe there is a possibility there is something out there we don’t understand or can’t yet explain, Santa does not fit into this category. But, there is something deep in me that wants it to be so. When I was a small child, maybe four or five, I awoke in the middle of night on Christmas Eve to, what I believed to be, steps on the roof. My little imagination, that had harbored the slightest bit of doubt, was very alert and hopeful. As I lay in my bed, I heard snow crunching above me and then silence. A few minutes passed while I pondered whether I should get up and look or not. Just as I was about to get up I heard steps in the living room. Not just any steps, mind you, but boot steps! The steps crossed the room and then faded into the stillness of the room. I heard nothing more that night, but I had heard enough to set the stage for me to be a believer.
As years have passed and I have matured, I have come to understand Santa doesn’t exist, but it was a painful truth to come to grips with. Now, as we have a son, Carissa and I are trying to understand how we are going to handle Santa Claus. We want to preserve the magic of Christmas that Santa Claus represents, while also being true to ourselves and our Christian faith. Most importantly, we don’t want to quench the ability for our son to believe in things he can’t see. If we push the idea that proof and empirical data is necessary to believe in something, then what happens when he is faced with the truth of Jesus Christ? A historical Jesus is fairly easy to prove, but what about the Savior Jesus that lives in our hearts and brings us salvation? If proof is necessary, then there is no room for faith, and with no room for faith then won’t we miss out on Jesus? Finding out the truth that Santa Claus didn’t exist was devastating for my tender boyhood heart, but it would be eternally tragic to miss out on the truth that Jesus does exist.
Santa still exists in my heart, and the wonder of Christmas is wrapped up in that idea. But the magic of Christmas found in the birth of a babe in a lonely manger is what fosters the wonder and warmth of family, generosity, hope, peace, beauty, and joy we cherish and believe in at this time of year.
Do you believe?