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Hearts must be open to accept faith
Stephen Ministry
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Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus! Most of us are familiar with the letter to the editor that ran in the New York Sun in 1897 from then 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon. She wrote, “ Dear editor: I am 8 years old, and some of my friends say that there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in ‘The Sun,’ it’s so. Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?”
The letter from the editor that followed advised Virginia that her friends were wrong. Excerpts from the editor’s letter read, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love, generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they all abound and give to our life it’s highest beauty and joy. How sad it would be to the world if there were no Virginias. There would be no childish faith, poetry, romance and miracles to make our existence tolerable. We would have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight.
“The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.” He continued, “No one sees Santa, but that is surely no sign that Santa Claus does not exist.
“The most real things in the world are those that children, men and women cannot see. No one can conceive all the wonders that are unseen and unseen in the world. There is a veil covering the unseen world, which the strongest man, not even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, love, poetry and romance can push aside the curtain and view the picture of the supernatural beauty and glory beyond.”
In these excerpts from a wonderful letter to an inquisitive little girl, we are reminded of abounding love, generosity and devotion from an unseen entity besides Santa Claus. He is known by most all from stories of His travels, deeds, goodness and generosity but, at the same time, not really believed in by many adults and children because He cannot be physically seen. But He is present in the many wonderful demonstrations of what our hearts want to believe.
The editor’s letter paraphrases many of the conversations and thoughts of children and adults pertaining to the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We truly want to believe because we see the evidence of miracles, love, generosity, devotion and many other wonderful everyday things we take for granted, such as a baby’s birth, family, friends, healing, sharing, caring and accomplishments.
For many of us, what is missing is a faith and belief we would like to have and share with others. But we are hindered because we have never physically seen Him. We have been affected by so many of the skeptics surrounding us.
Our fast-paced world is a world of “seeing is believing” and not a world driven by our faith in others and, most of all, faith in Jesus Christ and the living word of God, which is found in the Bible. We tend to believe in the words we see everywhere, every day, like “In God We Trust.” We feel the pride of defending a country founded on these words, but do we really believe in the God on whom our founding fathers established this great nation — the God who is ever-present and all-seeing in our daily lives? Why do we lose the faith and excited spirit of our childhoods as we grow older? Why do we become skeptics of everything we cannot physically see and understand?
We have a lot to learn from our young children and grandchildren about belief and faith. The miracle of Christmas can continue. We can live it 12 months a year by accepting faith and opening our hearts to believe in the birth of a Savior, sight unseen.
We, as Stephen Ministers, ask you, “What do you believe?”
What better time to consider the greatest gift of all time for you and your family? Unwavering faith can be yours and a Stephen Minister can help you get there.
The Stephen Ministry Team at First Baptist Church in Hinesville wishes each and every one of you the blessings of Christmas and the season. We invite those who are struggling with issues of faith, the season itself, loss of a loved one, trouble finding answers to problems or other issues of the heart to call us for an appointment.
The Stephen Ministry program is totally confidential and faith-based, although faith is not a requirement. Gender-sensitive sessions are provided on a one-on-one basis and are free of charge. Please call us at 320-7840.

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