Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Night I Stopped Believing in Santa

I was thinking back to my childhood at Christmas time. I remember how exciting Christmas was as a kid, especially when I still believed in Santa Clause (spoiler alert). Now that I think back on it, it's amazing to me that I believed everything that I was told about him. I believed that he could make it around to every home to deliver gifts in just one night. Even when he was depicted on tv or on the movies, he never looked like he was rushing; in fact he took the time to eat the cookies that were left for him (at least he ate mine). I believed that flying reindeer pulled his sled through the sky and safely landed on every roof top. I even believed that he entered into every home by climbing down the chimney, even though we didn't have a fireplace. I believed he knew what toys every kid wanted, he had elves who knew how to make them all, and he could carry all the toys for the whole world in just one bag. I believed all of that. In fact I believed it with the total weight of my faith and without one ounce of doubt. That is...until...

I can't remember how old I was, but early one Christmas morning, when I realized that Santa Clause had "walked", as we say around here, I rushed up to see what he had left. I was sooooo excited to see that I got a bike. It wasn't my first bike, but it was my first 'big boy bike'. I was checking out the seat and the handle bars and the gears, and then I noticed something strange. There were these papers taped to the bike. "Could it be a special note from Santa?", I thought. I pulled them off to see what it said. My faith in Santa Clause came crashing down around me when I read words like.."Western Auto"..."Lay Away Receipt"...and "In the name of Clint Evans". Just with those few words, everything I had ever believed about Santa Clause came into question. "How in the world can reindeer fly?"; "There's no way he can carry all those toys in one bag"; "How did he come down our chimney and not get burned up in our wood heater?"; "How did he eat all those cookies and not get sick"...Santa Clause's red suit from then on would bear a big, fat question mark.

I said all of that to say I do need the Lord's help sometimes in reaching back into my heart and finding that kind of faith again. Not a faith that will allow me to believe in Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. But that kind of faith that believes and never questions; faith that exists without understanding. Not that I need help to believe in God or to believe that I am saved. For those, I absolutely have no doubt. But I do sometimes need His help to believe that I can have peace in this world full of turmoil; that I can feel safe in this world full of danger; that I can still find grace in this world full of sin; and that I can still show love in this world full of hate. I need that unquestioning faith from when I was a little boy, because everything I see in this world tells me something different. I need God's help because even though His word tells me not too, sometimes I tend to lean on my own understanding.

I understand better now when His word says that I must have the faith of a child to enter into His kingdom. I don't have to understand everything, I just want to believe. And I believe with everything that's within me that God loves me, even on the night I stopped believing in Santa.

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