Friday, December 18, 2015

I Believe.

These days it's common for elementary school kids to throw on some pjs, climb into a big yellow school bus, and head off to school for a day of cookies, hot chocolate, and one of the newest but most treasured Christmas movies, The Polar Express. Unfortunately for me, my grade was the last grade that didn't get to indulge in this magical day at school until my 5th grade Christmas party, however no pjs were worn that day so it seemed like every other year for me. On party day as I walked into the bus room and sat down in my class's line, I saw the grade below me all clad in their pjs and slippers and was filled with jealousy. From that moment on I decided I would hold my grudge against The Polar Express and not the people in charge at my school, naturally. It wasn't until the last few years that I decided to let bygones be bygones and allow myself to watch the movie. Needless to say, it's my favorite Christmas movie now and holds such a special place in my heart. 

If you've never watched that precious movie, you're truly missing out. It wasn't until I watched it this year that I had an "aha" moment and my eyes were opened to the vastly deep plot. These children are on the cusp of not believing in Santa anymore, get picked up by the most magical train since Hogwarts (but NEVER to surpass The Hogwarts Express), and are taken to the North Pole to meet Santa-with a lot of stuff in between. Once they've met Santa, the main character is gifted with a bell from Santa's sleigh. This is no ordinary bell, however. The bell can only be heard as long as you believe in Santa. The main character ends the movie by narrating as an adult with the quote:
"At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe."

I get chills every time I hear this quote and it's the subject of many future pinterest projects that I have pinned on my pinterest. However, last night I asked myself "does this movie possibly have an even deeper meaning?"

Just as many children stop believing in Santa at a certain age, unfortunately many people stop believing in God as well. I'm at a crucial part in life where a lot of people go to college and begin to have doubts. During this time of year especially, "the doubters", as the Polar Express would say, seem to come out of the wood works. A virgin birth, a northern star, and God made human all seem like fallacies in their minds. We see lawsuits to businesses for not being diverse enough. Christmas parties become holiday parties. Nativity scenes are labeled "offensive". Coming from a science major, yeah, it seems pretty out there to a human mind. In science you have to have facts, evidence, theories, and formulas before anything can be labeled as true. Jesus requires us to believe, trust, have faith in something that, in their minds, has little to no fact behind it. 

So what if we are the same as the kids in the Polar Express? What if we look at this Christmas as a journey? What is we allow ourselves to climb aboard the train of God and let it take us to the Father himself? 

There's one catch to this journey: we must be willing. The Polar Express doesn't force children to ride so that their eyes may be opened, they are asked if they want to ride. The main character at first says no, but when the train begins to leave he chases it down to eventually get on. I don't care how we arrive to this train, but we MUST get on. Unlike in The Polar Express, however, the train is always there for us. All we have to do is ask and Jesus says that if you ask you shall receive.

Asking God to open up our eyes to him doesn't just have to happen at Christmas, and it shouldn't just be for those who have their "yule tide doubts". We should all do this, and frequently at that. Every day we should wake up with one goal in mind: to grow closer to the Father's heart. That can come out in many ways and it looks different for everyone, but every day you should live to serve your God and come to know him more and more. 

Unfortunately, not all will believe. Just as in The Polar Express, some will not believe. Some, like Sarah, will allow events in their lives to shape how they see God or if they see him at all. But for those of us who ask God to take us on his own train ride, we will always believe no matter how old we grow or how seasoned our lives become. The bell will always ring for us. 

As the conductor of the magical Polar Express said "Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see." 

As for me, I believe. 

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