“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)
Willie playing Santa to Reed and Cole in 2000.
When I was a child, we celebrated all the Christmas traditions. We put up a Christmas tree, made homemade decorations at school, baked Christmas cookies, wrapped presents and anticipated the magical day when we believed that Santa would leave the gift we had been dreaming about for many nights under our tree for us to find the next morning. When we would visit my grandparents in West Texas, my granddaddy would put a red light on a high wire outside his house, bring my brother and me outside on Christmas Eve and show us where Rudolph was flying, far off in the distance. Then he would shuttle us back inside quickly, telling us that we had to get in bed and go to sleep before Santa saw us. When we woke up, we saw that all our wishes had come true! It was absolutely my most favorite day of the entire year!
Then one day when my growing mind became suspicious about the whole Santa thing, I decided that I was going to test him. So, I asked Santa for something that I had never ever seen before in any store: a blue Raggedy Ann and Andy baby doll stroller. I had seen many red and white ones, but I had never seen a blue one. I theorized that the only way I would get that stroller was if Santa made it himself. I knew that if I got it, he was real. If I didn’t get it, I would prove he was a fake. I had my game plan and I was ready. So, on Christmas morning, I woke before anyone else in my family, snuck down the hall and peeked into the living room. And there it was! I couldn’t believe it! A blue Raggedy Ann and Andy baby doll stroller! He was real! I BELIEVED! Wow, I must have really been good that year! When I told my parents what I did, they were as surprised as I was. Or so it seemed.
Sometimes we approach God the same way as a child during the Christmas Season. We ask for things we want and promise we’ll be good all year. When God delivers what we want, we shout, “We BELIEVE in you, God!” And if we don’t get what we ask for, we surmise that we must not have been good, so we promise we’ll do better, all so we can ensure ourselves that God will make all our dreams come true. And when we have our doubts, we test God. We say, “If you’re really there, God, then you will…” or “Let me know you can hear me, God, by giving me a sign…” We put conditions on God. And when He doesn’t live up to our standards, we push Him aside and rely on our own devices to make our own wishes come true. What if our wish isn’t God’s wish for us? What if God’s will is not the same as ours?
Ephesians 5:16-17 says, “Make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
In these wonderful, joyful, playful, magical days of the Christmas season, and while you make plans for new and fresh starts in a few weeks, remember the true Giver of Life. Santa is a wonderful symbol of good will and great tidings. And even though Santa’s face may change with every Christmas movie, every mall, every local Christmas play and party, remember that God NEVER changes. We can always count on Him to see us through. We just need to BELIEVE!
Have a magical week!