Spoiled Milk (and Cookies)

Coming up to them at that very moment, Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the Child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”- Luke 2:38

***SPOILER ALERT*** If your kids still believe in Santa Claus, please keep this article far from them!

Although this Christmas moment took place forty years ago, I remember it as if it was yesterday. It was Christmas Eve 1978 in Staten Island, New York. I had been taken upstairs and tucked into bed. But being that it was the night before Christmas, like most kids I was too amped to be tired. After tossing and turning for several minutes, I decided to investigate the rumblings I was hearing downstairs. “Could it possibly be Santa Claus? Here at my house!” I couldn’t wait to get a glimpse of old Saint Nick in his red suit with a large sack full of toys. What I discovered could only be described as a Christmas catastrophe for any seven-year old. Stopping about halfway down the stairs, I peered through the rails to behold my parents and friends smoking cigarettes, listening to the Rolling Stones, testing toys, and wrapping gifts. Not exactly what you would call Santa’s workshop! Upon seeing me, there was a quick scramble to conceal the evidence and get me back to bed. Unfortunately, the damage had been done and my faith in Santa Claus had been dashed.

That Christmas I experienced the cruel reality that Kris Kringle was not coming to my house and bringing gifts from the North Pole. I share this story not to create a Christmas downer, but to address something that can happen to us at any stage of life and any season of the year. Many of us are faced with setbacks, shocking developments, and physical evidence that causes us to doubt the hopes and dreams that are deep within us. Often our desires get drained from the lack of seeing results in life that are at the top of our wish list. A few Sundays ago, during my message on Joseph taking Mary as his wife, I shared that many of us need a God surprise for the places in life that have turned out to be a major letdown. The college education hasn’t equated to a great career; the desire for a married couple to have kids has been delayed due to the inability to get pregnant; the dream of owning a home has come crashing down.

As we walk through the trials, the disappointments, and the vast wilderness of empty dreams and unfulfillment, the gift we need under the tree is an infusion of HOPE. Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.When we keep our eyes on Jesus, the things we are presently seeing transpire will not move us, discourage us, or overcome us. This Christmas let’s choose to believe…

…what God’s Word says is TRUE!

…what God has deposited in our hearts is REAL!

…what God has spoken to our hearts will HAPPEN!

My unpleasant Christmas discovery those forty years ago came back full circle last week during a time of prayer. As I was thinking about some dreams God had placed on my heart, I realized that I had given up on them because they had yet to be delivered to my “HERE and NOW”. As I began journaling about what I was feeling, I sensed the Holy Spirit call me to BELIEVE AGAIN! In that moment the Spirit of God was calling for a resurrection to something I had considered dead. He was asking me to ask again, He was calling me to knock again, He was inviting me to dream again, He was pointing me to focus again.

This Christmas let’s go back to God in prayer for that thing that He planted in our heart as a desire. The key to overcoming the letdown is to not let down our faith guard in praying for God’s will and walking out steps of faith, worship, obedience, and gratitude for what He has done, is doing, and will do! Dear friend, let’s not dwell on what’s happening downstairs (on earth) like I did finding out my parents were disguised as Santa, but let’s move our hearts, minds, and sight back upstairs (on Heaven), because when we do that there will be a Christmas morning miracle still…one filled with a beautiful array of His gifts. This Christmas may the words of Paul from 1 Thessalonians 5:24 be yours, “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.

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