Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Polar Express

One of my highlights this Christmas season was watching "The Polar Express" for the first time.  I can't believe I have not seen that movie until this year (it came out in 2004).  I kept planning to watch it days prior to Christmas, but never got around to it.  I had Ryan record it for me and I finally watched it on Christmas day all wrapped up in a blanket on the couch.  I ADORED it.  It is a children's movie, but it had SO much meaning behind it.  If you haven't seen it, it is about a boy that has little faith in Santa Clause.  Therefore, he gets put on the list to be picked up by The Polar Express train that is headed for the North Pole.  The children on the train get to see Santa for themselves.  The whole train experience continues to build the little boy's faith in Santa Clause.  When he finally gets to the North Pole, the boy struggles and struggles to see Santa because all of the elves are cheering and blocking his view.  Finally, the little boy gets chosen to recieve the first gift from Santa and he receives a bell off of one of the reindeers.  He puts the bell in his pocket (which has a hole in it) and ends up losing it.  When he gets home, the next morning the bell is wrapped and under the tree with a letter from Santa.  He shakes the bell in his ear and hears it ring.  When he hands it to his parents, they think it is broke because they cannot hear it ring.  The bell will only ring for those who truly believe.

Now for the meaning behind it?  I related it to having faith in Jesus.  When things are going wrong, or when we just don't feel like Jesus is there, it is hard to have faith.  In the movie, the little boy has trouble believing in Santa (who is ironically labeled as the "Big Man").  He encounters a hobo and the conversation is as follows: 

Hobo: What exactly is... is your persuasion on the Big Man, since you brought him up?
The Boy: Well, I... I want to believe... but...
Hobo: But you don't want to be bamboozled. You don't want to be led down the primrose path! You don't want to be conned or duped. Have the wool pulled over your eyes. Hoodwinked! You don't want to be taken for a ride. Railroaded!
Hobo: Seeing is believing. Am I right? (via)

For a lot of us seeing IS believing.  But like the conductor says in the movie, "Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see." (via) That is what faith is all about.  Believing in what we CAN'T see. 

In the movie, when the kids get back on the train, the conductor stamps the tickets of the three main kids in the movie.  Using a hole punch, he spells a word on each of the kids' tickets.  The word relates to that kid.  He spells "Lead" on the ticket of a girl who has great faith.  He spells "Depend On, Lean On, Count On" on a ticket pf a boy that has little trust.  He spells "Learn" on a ticket of a boy who thinks he knows-it-all.  And he spells "Believe" on the main little boy's ticket.  Those words provide life lessons for us all.  Instead of being know-it-alls, we should learn the truth, believe in the truth, trust in the truth, and be a leader for the truth. 

Such a powerful children's movie.  I found an awesome free Bible study for children based on "The Polar Express."  You can find it here.  And make sure to check out the movie!  I hope to purchase it and the book. 

Hope everyone had a Merry CHRISTmas!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Hope Series: Day One

As I am going through some difficult times in my life, I have decided to start a blog series on HOPE.  I often times have trouble finding hope in difficult situations.  I thought writing about hope would help me as well as others out there.  I was given an awesome book last week titled, "Lies Women Believe" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  I found this passage in the book, wrapped my heart around it, and have been carrying it with me all week: 

"Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear; rather look to them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them.  He has kept you hither-to,--do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and, when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms....The same everlasting Father who cares for you today, will take care of you to-morrow, and every day.  Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.  Be at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations."

-Francis de Sales, Daily Strength for Daily Needs, ed. Mary W. Tileston (Boston: Little, Brown, 1899), 29.