The Christmas season is in full swing. Along with decorations and candy and presents, there’s an underlying sparkle in the air. The sparkle of belief in the “magic” of Christmas.
In fact, my all-time favorite Christmas movie, Elf, pounds home the idea that we need to believe in Santa in order for him to be able to complete his work.
Now, I love Christmas and I love movies that capture our childhood delight over the holidays. But, I don’t actually believe in this Santa who flies over the globe depositing gifts under the tree…I suppose that is the reason why he doesn’t bring me any? Obviously, his work in my life hinges on my belief in him.
Interestingly enough, this concept has spilled over into sermons and teachings about faith in God. Tune in your radio to certain preachers and you’ll hear a message on how to speak blessings into your life. Have enough faith, believe without doubt and life will grow better each day.
This theology didn’t bother me too much until I stood in the ICU, watching my late husband’s body shut down. Did I not pray with enough faith? Did we not believe strong enough that God would heal him?
If I bought into the Santa version of God, well, then maybe that was really what had happened. But the truth is, tragedy will enter life and it doesn’t matter what we do, think or feel, they will continue to happen. Some seasons of heartache are simply out of our realm of influence.
This year, as I celebrate the birth of Christ and the redemption He brought to the world far before any of us were alive to believe it would happen, I’ve been fascinated with a thought that has never really occurred to me before. It was brought to my mind by someone named Bertie. She was talking about a subject completely unrelated to Christmas, but it stands out in my mind as one of the most profound and perfect statements to ponder right now.
Who is Bertie? Well, she’s one of my favorite people in my newest book, A Different Child Born. I suppose this statement make me sound like a crazy author who thinks about their characters as if they were real people. So let me assure you, I’m completely aware that she is not real [just like Santa, haha]. However, her words ring with a truth that cannot be denied.
In essence, she said that “…God exists whether we believe He does or not.”
Let that roll through your mind for a moment.
My opinion, and your opinion, do not impact His existence.
God doesn’t need us to “help” Him. He can heal, encourage, protect, strengthen, redeem and rescue anyone, from anything; at any time and in any place.
We do see a call to have faith written in the pages of the Bible. Take Hebrews 11:6 for example, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him…”
What we see there is a call to please God, not a call to help God. We do need faith, and we do need to believe in Him, but that still doesn’t mean our limitations limit Him or change Him.
No matter where you find yourself today, God is working.
Maybe you simply can’t muster up the belief that Romans 8:28 truly means “all things work together for the good.”
Maybe your arms and home feel empty, and you’re wondering if your grief will ever stop.
Maybe you’re cold and shivering, wondering how you’re going to pay the overdue electric bill, let alone buy your child a Christmas gift.
Maybe your heart has been shattered so drastically that you fear you will never believe anything good could happen to you again.
He will always love you.
He will always know your name.
This Christmas, I encourage you to bask in the knowledge that before you were even a twinkle in your parents eyes, God was pouring out His blessings into your life. When you pray, bring Him whatever you have; whether you have bucket loads of unfaltering belief, faith that is barely the size of a mustard seed, or a cry for Him to help you through your doubts.
The “magic” of Christmas isn’t some fleeting, intangible thing we’re in danger of missing or outgrowing. The “magic” of Christmas is Jesus’ unconditional love and redemption.