Faith in God – or Santa Claus?

Our seven-year-old grandson has lost his faith in Santa Claus – something that happens to all of us at some point.

This week, he asked his mother: “Are you and Daddy Santa Claus?”

Caught by surprise, our daughter stalled: “What do you think?”

“Well, what do you think?” he asked, putting the ball back in her court.

Seeing his doubts, our daughter did what any good mother would do – she told the truth. Despite his evident doubts, our grandson was clearly devastated that Santa wasn’t real.

This episode set me thinking about faith and what we put our faith in.

Followers of Christ put their faith in God. Others claim that God is a myth invented by human beings – no more real than Santa Claus.

When I was 20, a fellow-boarder in an Ottawa boarding house suggested we read the Bible together. I was immediately gripped by the story of Jesus Christ.

I was fascinated by the character of Jesus and the very human qualities of the disciples. They were men like me, imperfect. I could almost see the events, the conflicts, the failures, the victories. This was real world stuff – people threatened by the power of this simple carpenter, reacting with anger and hostility.

But the story was about more than this. It was about God coming down to earth in love. God seeking me, among others.

The Holy Spirit caught my attention and I became a believer.

Is my faith in Christ like believing in Santa Claus? No. The story of Jesus is as well supported historically as that of Julius Caesar.

And it goes beyond this: I have the Holy Spirit – God – within me. It is not just my mind that tells me this is true – I have an unshakeable conviction within me that comes from God.

And finally, I see evidence in history and in the world around me of God at work.

The apostle Paul said in Romans 15:18-19 that he preached the good news of Jesus Christ, accompanied by the power of miraculous works of God. These miracles, he said, helped convince skeptics of the truth of the gospel.

Throughout the world today we see miracles such as divine healing and other works that Jesus Christ performed 2,000 years ago – even resurrection from the dead.

In John 14:12, Jesus says that “anyone who believes in me will do the works I have done”. His words have been fulfilled countless times through the ages.

So, my faith is built on solid rock – not fairy-tales.

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