A couple of days ago, Jakob, my 8-year-old son, asked me if I believed in Santa Claus to which I replied, yes. This is not completely a lie, but my belief is perhaps more complex than that of a child. He commented that some of the boys in his class do not believe in Santa. And so it begins…
There is a mystery to Santa Claus, a magical belief that requires us to have faith in that which we cannot see. As a child, we know that if we are good, Santa will bring us gifts on Christmas Eve, but if we are naughty, all that will await us, is a lump of coal. Our belief in Jesus is not much different. After all, faith is, as Hebrews 11 tells us “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” But unlike Santa Claus, Jesus makes room for grace. Our Advent readings as of late (on the day for which I wrote this reflection they were Num 24:2-7,15-17, Ps 25:3-8 and Mt. 21:23-27), illuminate the holy mystery of God’s grace and steadfast love. Israel was unfaithful to God. If Santa were in charge, Israel would have received a big fat lump of coal but God, instead, in his steadfastness, promised abundance. This abundance is then remembered by David and gives him hope for the future.
I asked Jakob, “Then where do their presents come from? Maybe they don’t get presents.” You could tell he was baffled. Many of us today, much like the chief priests and elders have trouble suspending our disbelief and buying into the perceived foolishness of faith. But while we hesitate to believe in the mystery, we do not want to deny those things, which are good, such as presents, or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through baptism, or eternal life. I encourage you to let the holy mysteries of God’s steadfastness lay hold of you this Christmas season and may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all, now and forever. Amen.
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