“I believe. I believe. It’s silly but I believe.”
Most of you have probably seen Miracle on 34th Street. A delightful young girl named Susan is being raised by a very practical and somewhat cynical mother whose job at Macy’s is to run the Thanksgiving Day parade—complete with Santa Claus. She winds up hiring a substitute Santa who claims to be the real Kris Kringle.
Susan is very precocious, thanks in large part to her very rational mom who wants to protect her from any disappointments as she herself suffered in her divorce. Better not to believe at all than risk being let down.
But Susan can’t help being innocent and starts to hope and believe. I won’t go into the whole story as I’m sure most of you have seen it—and if you haven’t—well you should. Toward the end of the movie Susan’s mom comes to believe in Kris Kringle…and the very handsome Fred Gailey who is courting her. But Susan’s faith falters when the house she asked Kris Kringle for isn’t “under the tree” Christmas morning. Her newly faith filled mom tells her that faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. So down and dejected Susan keeps repeating “I believe. I believe. It’s silly but I believe.”
On the way home they pass the exact house Susan wanted with a for sale sign in the front. She yells excitedly for Fred to stop the car and runs inside with child like excitement. Of course, they decide to buy the house and marry and live there happily ever after as a family.
Now why am I telling you this? Because there is a lesson there for all of us. Not only do we need to believe when common sense tells us not to. Not only do we need to believe even when it seems silly. But we have to participate.
Susan’s wish wasn’t granted (or prayer answered) magically. She had actually set it all in motion, by being the authentic, innocent child she was. She followed her heart. She brought her mom and Fred Gailey together. She made her wishes known to Kris Kringle. Kris Kringle took it all in and figured out how to make it all happen.
Isn’t that ultimately how things work with God? We have a dream, a need, a prayer. We need to be authentic. We need to own it. We need to make it known to God (which of course He already knows…but He wants us to ask). We need to follow our hearts. We need to let things unfold and participate in that unfolding.
We often play a definitive role in whether or how our prayers are answered. Do we persevere through doubts or do we give up? Do we decide to accept only the answers we want in the way we want them or do we leave room for the Holy Spirit to work?
Folks, this has been a tough year and there has been a lot of suffering and anxiety and it continues through this most unusual election battle. But keep believing. God does remain in control. No matter how hopeless things seem, no matter how silly it may feel, choose to believe. It’s a choice you make, not a feeling you get. Feelings are fickle. Choose to believe. God will ultimately work all things for the good of those who love Him.
Wishing you all a beautiful and holy Advent and Christmastide.