You have everything you need, if you just believe…… “Believe,” from Polar Express
I have never watched Polar Express all the way through until last night. I stayed up longer than I should have just to see the little boy find the bell. I think I watched it partly for my Dad since he has confessed that this is his favorite movie. Even at 82, when he watches it you can see the glimmer of childhood innocence in his eyes. He told me last time I was home that, “I am that boy in the movie……” Dad’s was a childhood of lost and broken dreams with both parents alcoholics. He says that every Christmas started out great and ended up with both parents in a screaming match. He says every year he hoped that it would be different but it never was.
This leaves a permanent scar on a soul; and to his credit, he made our childhood everything his wasn’t. Our Christmases were filled with magic and promise. He made sure that we had all the security he never had. There were two promises he made to us and to himself. There would never be shouting in our home and there wasn’t, and that we would never see him drunk and we never did. I have wonderful memories of my childhood because of choices my Dad and my Mom made.
We can choose to build and repair what is broken or leave it behind us and create a new mess. We can also create something good and watch beauty emerge from a pile of rubble. We can also choose to open the windows and let the bad out, and keep it out. God never expects us to hitch our wagon to someone else’s negativity and darkness and go over the cliff with them.
As I watched last night, through my Dad’s eyes, I imagined some things about how it must have been for him when Grandpa took off when he was five. How scared he probably was. I was remembering how good it was for me as a child. I thought of an ocean of children out there waiting for the Polar Express to show up for them, the adults who were still waiting. As I watched, I rooted for that little boy.
There is something in a child that God loves. Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
God longs to take the lost little child within you into His arms and give you back everything that was stolen from you as a child. He longs to restore you……Even those of us with happy childhoods long to go back to that time when things seemed so simple, when belief was easy and everything was within the realm of possibility.
My Dad’s Mom died young as a result of her drinking, but my Grandfather got married again and quit drinking. He was a part of my life when I was a kid. My Dad had to make another choice to let him back into his life. He saw the benefit of that, and we had some good times together. Sometimes burned bridges can be rebuilt to a certain extent. My Dad and he were never really close, but Grandpa in his later years was a kind man, and he loved us. He took my brother and I to the Elks Lodge every Christmas. I remember the one year I really thought I heard Santa’s Sleigh outside the building.
There is a whole army of people out there that have been brave enough to make something good out of the wreckage of their past. To create wonder for someone else, and magic out of mayhem. To believe that Love is the most powerful thing of all….I was remembering as I slipped into slumber last night. Remembering my own time of magic, when I used to sit by the Christmas tree at night all by myself, lost in wonder.
In the remembering, I felt a tear make its way down the corner of my eye…….
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8