It's that time of year right? All over target, or was it Macy's was the theme encouraging patrons to believe...."in what?" I ask. In Santa Claus? In Christmas? in oneself?
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/believe says that to believe means to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something...
Because it is that time of year, we've decided to play the 'Santa' game with our children. We've watched a lot of the stop action animation put out by Rankin and Bass (the ones we grew up on). It's harmless enough to play, guess. We haven't made too big a deal about it this year. Trying, instead to encourage our kids to remember that God gave us the gift of His POWERFUL presence inside us in the person of Jesus. That because of him inside us, we can love, we can give, we can live the victorious life.
I was really thankful to have come across Veggie Tales' The Story of St. Nicholas. The story is set in present day Christmas Eve. All the kids are excited about what is coming that evening and Junior has just been given a coin from his grandparents to spend any way he wishes...
Bob takes notice and asks the children what Christmas is really about, and eventually points them to the manger scene he and Larry are constructing. This, of course brings the question to mind, "What does Santa Claus have to do with baby Jesus?"
At this point, Bob begins the story in Greece at the time of Nicholas, a young boy whose parents were followers of The Way. Their lives had been impacted by Jesus and they were giving to any who had need. A series of events causes Nicholas to run away from his hometown where he finds himself empty and sad.
In his travels, he comes across someone else who, like his parents, was giving because of God's gift to her. It is this turning point that sends him back home to take up the work of his parents to love and care for others in need, even in the face of danger or persecution.
This story was about practical application of God's word into our lives....and it was told for children to understand.
As I think of it, I am stirred to think of the question: Do you believe that what you believe is really real? I'm challenged and haunted by this question especially at this time of year when even those who refuse to believe in Jesus, who was most certainly real are pressing for the rest of us to believe in an idea that doesn't bring last life or peace.