Robert I. below notes James Martin’s ire at belief being used to label shopping bags and such. Lately, I’ve been struck by how many of the Christmas classics that aren’t explicitly religious contain a powerful call to belief. Not faith, exactly but belief. “Miracle on 34th St.” centers on a child’s belief, as does “The Polar Express.” A TV movie called “Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus” depends on an adult’s ability to believe that the tender-but-a-bit-goofy man she’s falling in love with is, in fact, Santa. Scrooge’s unbelief in Marley’s ghost yields to a belief in the ghosts that call him to love his neighbor and to keep Christmas—or else. Many adults can recall a moment when their belief in Santa awakened to doubts, and many parents mourn that turning point in their children. Our Christmas cultural landscape attests to the fact that belief itself is a powerful and precious thing, even if it is expressed in a young-consumerist’s desire for a particular toy to appear magically under the tree.
So…faith and belief. Allies, adversaries, different genres, objective vs subjective, gift vs effort? Whaddya think?