The annual trek to see Santa! We have a picture with Santa from the mall with Hudson and Charlie since both of them were born. It’s an annual tradition, and we make the most of it with lunch afterward, and maybe some shopping!
I will be the first to confess that sometimes if we are going to miss church, this is the Sunday. Santa opens at 10 AM, and I want to be there by 9:15 so we can get in, get out, and move on with the day. If we go to 8:30 church, by the time we get there the lines are “out the door!”
This year, our good friend Jeremy was going to be at our church – Jeremy does inner-city Young Life and our church is putting this Young Life Area on the missions budget. I knew I had to be there to greet him – so, we would have to tough out the lines.
On Saturday night I wanted to confirm the hours, and confirm that Santa would be at his normal location at the mall. I clicked around and found it all to be there same. Santa would be arriving at his usual 10 AM and riding the escalator down to the the main floor of the mall to the vast crowds. We have seen this all before.
As I was about ready to click-out of the website the was one more button – “More Details.” I clicked this link and it took me to another page with these words . . . words I know from Disneyland, and words I knew when I have had Elite status on the airlines – “FAST PASS.” All we had to do was pre-purchase our photo package and we were able to print out a “Fast Pass.” Of course, I did just that.
Sunday morning came and there was a deep satisfaction in my insides . . . . would this really work? We loaded the car and headed to church. It was a fabulous sermon — http://www.rbcpc.org/about-us/sermons/beginning-with-the-benediction/ in case you want to listen. We then went outside and said our hello’s to a variety of people and shared yet another cup of coffee. Finally, we loaded up into the car to head to the mall. The parking lot directed us to a new place to park, where we would enter the mall on the 2nd floor.
As we entered the mall, to my amazement and Hudson and Charlie’s wonderment, we came down the escalator WITH SANTA! I let Hudson and Charlie ride and talk with Santa as I took in the vast crowd. “Oh my,” I thought, this was worse than I imagined. We are going to be in line for over an hour and a half . . . but wait. What is that non-descript entrance? There is not one person in line there . . . I walked up to this entrance where there was a tiny little signage . . . “FAST PASS” enter here.
There were so many emotions right then . . . humbled, proud, grateful, unworthy, happy, embarrassed, and of course, YOU BETCHA BUDDY! We stepped up and Santa’s helper took her hand off the rope she was about to release for the vast throng of people, and she took off our rope and released us to have our picture with Santa. The couple at the front of line were so upset . . . How can I politely describe them. They were seriously “bent out of shape.” I shrugged my shoulder and showed my Fast Pass. Marni, after a few of his comments, turned to him and with great strength and grace – “Listen, don’t ruin this for my kids.” And, he was quiet.
We were out at our usual time – 10:10, in time to get a Starbucks, walk the mall, and then have our annual Red Robin lunch.
Is this not what Christmas, in one sense, is all about. We were all stuck – stuck in a long, long line with no hope that the rope will EVER come down.
God sent us a LINK. He sent us a link on an early Christmas morning thousands of years ago. “Unto you a Savior is born.” If we accept the Son we get a FAST PASS. We get this by NOTHING we have done nor because we deserve it. It was PURCHASED in advance of our life and we just get to stand in a different line. The line we stand in is because of HIS pain, HIS suffering, and HIS death.
I really enjoyed Sunday morning. I really enjoyed and chuckled many times at us walking in with Santa and going right to the front of the line. My mom said it was because we went to church – “Oh, mom!” I think it is because God wanted to remind me that the Fast Pass started and ends with Jesus.
It started in a manger, it continued on a cross, and it finished with an empty tomb. It’s our LINK to a FAST PASS. Thank God!