Happy Wednesday, friends!
I was having my quiet time on Tuesday morning and started reading in Ephesians, which is one of my favorite books in the Bible and later on while I was getting dressed, I started thinking about this blog post for today. I like to listen to worship music while I get dressed everyday and starting in November I switch over to Christmas worship music.
I said all that to say that music gives me spiritual pictures sometimes. I was listening to a Christmas song by Francesca Battistelli and she was singing about children believing in Santa Claus and waiting on Christmas morning. Something about when she sang about believing in Santa Claus reminded me of what I read that morning in Ephesians 3. I'm going to write out the verses below for you, but verses 14-21 are below.
For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be stengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God's love, and to know that Christ's love surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
I have always equated Santa (the character) with believing—and the word believe reminds me of the word faith—and I started thinking about people who don't let their children believe in Santa, or those who don't "do" Santa and gifts from him. Please don't think I am judging you for doing this if that is you—each one does what they feel is best for their children, it's just that I feel sad for little ones who miss out on the magic of believing in Santa Claus. I know if they don't know about Santa that they won't know what they're missing, but I think that what we do or do not believe in as children affects us for the rest of our lives once we are adults.
I thought of all of this because of what I had just read in Ephesians 3, in verse 17: and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
The Bible defines faith as this in Hebrews 11:1—Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.
Like children believing in a man in a red suit that they never see reminds me of how we believe in Someone we do not see—and this reminds me of what Matthew 18:3 says.
"Truly I tell you," he said, "unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
Please know that I am not at all saying that Jesus is anything like Santa, a fictitious character, but it's the believing and the childlike faith that remind me so much of what being a believer and follower of Jesus is like. Here are some similarities:
I don't see Jesus with my own eyes, but I know that He is there and I feel His presence sometimes—not all the time, but some of the time. Just yesterday morning I was praying at the kitchen table and as I prayed some of the Scripture I had just read, I could sense Him near me. The Bible tells us in James 4:8 that as we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. This happens for me when I pray sometimes, though there is nothing special about how I pray—I just pray what is on my heart and press in to Him and I know He is near. I have faith in Jesus and I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will spend all of eternity with Him in Heaven. Children who believe in Santa have faith that he will bring them gifts in the early hours of Christmas morning.
Believing in something—someone—requires big amounts of faith...and that Christ dwells in your hearts through faith.
Ephesians 3 goes on to say that when you know the length, width, height and depth of God's love that you will be filled with the fullness of God. God can do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us.
As I was watching The Voice last night, young Carter Rubin said it best—"we could all use a lot more innocence in our lives." (He was speaking of his autistic brother.) Childlike faith is pure and innocent, much like children believing in Santa Claus, just like I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. When children anticipate Santa bringing their presents, that is how I am waiting on Jesus to come back someday and take me home with Him. This earth is not my home, Heaven is my home and I long for a place I'll not see until He returns for those of us who belong to Him. This reminds me of how my kids used to believe in the North Pole, a place they'd never seen. They imagined what it would be like and told everyone what they thought it must look like, just like I imagine what heaven will be like someday (no more tears or sadness, no goodbyes).
I think we could all learn some lessons from children, don't you? Their innocence is sweet and pure and sometimes I think we need to be a lot more like them—having their innocent faith. We will never be like young children ever again. Once they get a little older, the ways of the world start creeping in and they lose the innocence they once had. I've seen it with my sons and I am often saddended by the hesitation I sense in them, the feeling that they're wary of believing something or someone.
Are you starting to see how a simple Christmas song reminded me of all this yesterday? There is something about children believing in Santa that makes me think that we should be more like them when it comes to believing in Jesus. We can take Him at His Word because His Word is true, just like young children believe in what their parents tell them. Proverbs 30:5 tells us this: Every word of God is pure; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Acts 16:31 talks about believing—They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved—you and your household." (I don't usually take verses out of context, but this verse mentions believing and being saved.)
Believing, having faith in someone (something) you don't physically see, trusting in someone to follow through with a promise—all of this reminds me of believing in Jesus. If you're a young parent reading this and you have reservations about whether or not you should let your little ones believe in Santa Claus, don't hesitate so much. Let them believe in him! You don't have to think up grand stories to make him seem more real, trust me they will believe easily—you don't need to lie, you can just be vague, like we were when our sons were young. I don't feel like we did an injustice to our sons by letting them believe in Santa and they are not damaged or thinking that we lied to them their whole lives. Like I said earlier, I don't want to be judgmental—each family does what is best for their own children and that has to be decided within your own heart.
The Lord will lead you in everything as you walk closely with Him by reading His Word and by praying.
As long as God gets the glory and not a fictitious character, I don't see anything wrong with Santa. We never went overboard and Santa never brought too many things and I like to think we kept our heads on pretty straight when it came to gifts at Christmas. We made sure they knew that God was the real giver of the gifts and that He was the One who provided for our family in every way. They knew Jesus was the reason why we celebrated the season of Christmas and giving.
I will leave you with a video of the song Christmas Dreams that inspired this blog post—just click on the title of that song and the link will take you to YouTube. Here are the lyrics to the song:
I blow out the candles, unplug the tree
There's no one awake at midnight but me
I slip down the hall and amid the moonbeams
My kids are tucked in, dreaming Christmas dreams
Days of such wonder, magic- filled nights
moments they'll look back on all 0f their lives
So much time wide- eyed at holiday scenes
Now they're worn out, dreaming Christmas dreams
Dreams of cookies and cards, boxes and bows
Storefronts and stockings and days when it snows
With all of the secrets that this season keeps
It's a wonder at all that they fall asleep
I smile as I kiss them
Cause' under that tree
Are surprises that they're not expecting to see
We're just hours away from their giggles and screams
The answers to all their Christmas dreams
Dreams of tinsel and toys and Santa's workshop
Noises at night coming from the rooftop
With all of the secrets that this season keeps
It's a wonder at all that they fall asleep
The thought comes to mind that I may be the one
Who's most excited 'bout what's yet to come
As I crawl in bed, I laugh 'cause it seems
Guess never too old for Christmas
No you're never too old for Christmas
Never too old for Christmas dreams
These were the thoughts that were rolling around in my head yesterday morning and how I equated all of this with Jesus and the joy and wonder of the Christmas season. Thanks for reading my blog! Love to all.