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Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
When I was a little girl, I was like any other child who's family embraced the Christmas tradition of Santa Claus. My grandparents lived in the town of Estacada, approximately 30 miles east of Portland. Santa came to Grandma's house on Christmas Eve. I remember dressing up in my newly sewn Christmas dress, usually matching my sister's and my new black patent leather shoes and riding in the back seat through the countryside to get to my grandparents.
It was usually a clear cold night, sometimes snowy, but seldom rainy. The clear skies allowed us the chance to seek out Santa's sleigh, hoping to make a sighting. One of those clear nights, my aunt took me outside and pointed up into the sky where a very bright light was moving across the sky. She told me it was Santa. I was awestruck and convinced that Santa was up there doing his job.
I had faith that Santa existed and even though I had never really seen him, (except for the "Santa's helper" in Meier and Frank, I was still certain he would show up with a gift for me and my siblings.
The faith of a little child is pure and filled with hope. Some think that the whole concept of Santa is teaching your child that it is okay to lie. I don't think so. I lived the hope until I was in 6th grade. i knew the truth by then, but I wanted to hang on to the wonder for as long as i could. Santa ended for us that year. No more stockings or Santa gifts. Perhaps that's why Santa still comes to my adult children. I stopped the stockings two years ago, but I still love the anticipation and excitement as we blast the Christmas musci on Christmas morning to announce Santa has arrived and to wake up the kids.
Santa is not our reason for the season, but it isn't a stretch to me then, to wonder if those awaiting the coming of the Messiah wasn't done with hopeful hearts and faith in what they hoped for in a similar manner as the innocent, faithful and hopeful child.
Santa has always been more than a symbol of commercialism to me. I believed that Santa was a generous, loving soul, who spread that love throughout the world at Christmas time. There is a boost of charity at Christmas time despite the negative news stories that make the headlines and Santa seems to be an inclusive conduit of love and spirit.
The weary awaiting the messiah were waiting for love to appear. And, according to scripture, once He was born, after all the hype of thousands of years of hopefulness, and after three years of ministry, Jesus, had this to say,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39.
The Hope for the world had a distinct message and for me, I hope, always to have faith enough to believe that love will always triumph.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.