I believed in Santa.
In fact I believed in Santa Claus until I was about 14, maybe 15.
YES, I was that old when I stopped believing & NO I do not regret it in the slightest nor am I ashamed of the fact that I did. *shrugs*
The truth is that I had the GREATEST time and the sweetest of memories as a result of it.
I remember being so excited during the holiday season because that meant that all of my favorite things were happening
- Family Time ( all of my cousins together under ONE roof)
- Christmas movies (which ALWAYS included The Grinch. I ended up watching it so much that I grew to dislike it)
- Hot chocolate (because I’ve always been a fan)
- Santa was coming which meant
****This is the part where we pause for a Christmas story****
Christmas time always meant ADVENTURES.
Each year that Santa came was different and exciting. We’d always get all worked up writing Santa letters and sending them to the North Pole. My most favorite “Santa Claus” memory was the year that my sister made us look out our window right before 12am as we waited for Santa to drop off our gifts. We didn’t see him pass by but our gifts miraculously appeared under the tree. My older cousin (and totally an apprentice of my sisters) excitedly yelled as she realized there were new presents under the tree. We rushed to the tree to open our presents but very observant, filed with wonder and queen of questions, little ol’ me, pointed out that Santa FORGOT to take our letters (which we didn’t mail out that year because Santa already knew what we wanted anyway (DUH) and we just put our letters up on our tree). My sister (who seriously should consider acting) started screaming because she had “Just seen Santa’s sleigh out the window” but of course when we rushed over to see what she saw, he was gone and so were our letters. It was a total miracle and Santa had earned some more cool points in my book.
I even remember the feeling that I had when one of my little cousins, who didn’t believe in Santa, started to doubt his own doubts. Oh, sweet victory! Santa was the coolest!****
*Un-pause Christmas Story*
I should’ve realized that Santa wasn’t actually real plenty of times throughout my years of believing in him.
First reason being that my father DID NOT play along with this Santa business. Year after year he’d make it known that it was him (and the rest of my family members) buying the presents that I was given. He was always consistent and made sure I heard time and time again that Santa wasn’t real. But his words were never enough to discourage me from believing.
Since that didn’t convince me, I should’ve known Santa didn’t exist the year that my sister, the executive planner and orchestrator behind these AMAZING Santa experiences, moved out. That year I came back home on Christmas morning to find the glass of milk and plate of cookies that we had left out for Santa untouched AND the same exact presents under the tree. To me, this was the year that Santa didn’t show up, probably because my brother and I didn’t make the nice list (the story that unfolded in my head that night).
Lastly, I should’ve known that Santa wasn’t real when every year after that he dropped off our presents wherever my sister was living.
But believing in old Saint Nick actually taught me some things that carried out into my christian life and walk with Jesus today.
Not only did it teach me to BELIEVE, it taught me to believe when others didn’t, when people who I knew and loved refused to or talked down on my belief. It taught me to accept those differences, never holding it against them, but loving them anyway.
It taught me to stick up for what I believed with ALL my heart, to go against the crowd and to not be shaken by the opinion of others. Funny enough it also taught me never to argue about what I thought and believed.
It taught me that faith is blind, that we can’t always see all the details and know all the facts but that believing anyway is oh so powerful.
It taught me generosity and wonder and why the word says that we must be childlike.
The difference between Santa and Jesus is this… Santa isn’t real, Jesus is.
I had no concrete evidence, experience or encounters with Santa like I have with Jesus. Unlike my Santa story, my Jesus story has a thousand times more encounters.
Yet I wonder what exactly led me to believe so strongly in Santa without the things that led me to believe so strongly in Jesus.
I never felt Santa or heard or experienced him yet I chose to believe in someone who was far out of my grip. I chose to believe in something I couldn’t touch or hold.
It is much like choosing Jesus.
When I first chose to follow Jesus it was simply because I had a yearning in my heart, one that somehow knew that I was loved immensely, one that had a huge vast space in it and needed it to be filled, one that was tired of holding on to sickly things. I had no idea who Jesus was, what this walk consisted of or even how to experience Him for myself.
I had to make a choice to follow him and find out, somehow I knew that he wouldn’t disappoint and he hasn’t.
But that decision took some blind faith. It took some believing when others didn’t understand. It took some serious willpower.
And it has been THE BEST DECISION I’VE EVER MADE.
Santa brought me presents, Jesus IS THE PRESENT. His mere existence and purpose was our ultimate present.
Santa brings toys only to the ones who deserve it (are on the nice list) , Jesus paid the price for ALL.
Technically we were ALL on the “Naughty list”, none of us deserved this gift, this grace, this love, we’ve all sinned and fall short of the glory of God and yet he chose us. He chose YOU.
So this CHRISTmas it just takes one thing to make everything shift, to experience REAL joy and embrace the immense love that is freely available for you.
that he came for YOU
and gave it ALL because you are worth it all.
“For unto us a child is born” (Isaiah 9:6) and He has been the sweetest gift.