The ability to believe for a lifetime
I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel. — Luke 2:30-31 NLT
I grew up believing in Santa Claus. I didn’t know how much I believed in Ol’ Saint Nick until I experienced this fervent devotion in my oldest foster son this year. I mean, he believes. In witnessing this throughout the month of December with our family Elf of the Shelf, a trusty North Pole Ambassador with magic powers, I realize how ardently I also believed in the jolly one we left cookies and milk out for on Christmas Eve. In fact, I wrote my high school junior year term paper on the white-bearded wonder. Now, speaking of wonder, I can’t help but get befuddled at how this is going to work out for the junior me, this boy who fabricates his rock-solid faith on a legend. This almost 8-year-old can recite the message Gabriel gives Mary (plus or minus a phrase or two). What he can do with this whole North Pole thing? Whoa, this is literally, truly outstanding.
What concerns me are false faith systems that eventually crash. I am no longer just talking about the ho-ho guy who lands his sled on rooftops. If some developmental building blocks wobble too much, then faith in Christ could crumble and we have all seen this happen.
So, there is the other old guy. Maybe he did not have a long, white beard, a jelly belly and a penchant for wearing red. He did, however, build his belief system year after year and succeeded. He saw God’s salvation in the newborn carried by this seemingly non-spectacular couple from some nowhere place called Nazareth.
PRAYER: Lord, rather than follow a faith flattener who keeps a naughty and nice list with coal as a consequence for bad behavior, help us look to the faith-living legacy of Simeon who, once 8-years-old, held in his lifetime the ability to believe in the One who leads us to eternal life.
Pictured is 5-Star, our brand-new Elf on a Shelf this year. Hear more about this little fellow and the family by clicking on www.firstchurchharford.com after December 27. You can find the sermon under the tab Pastor’s Corner. Access to the sermon is also available by joining our Facebook page, Harford First Congregational-UCC.