Finding faith

Published 8:55 am Friday, January 8, 2010

God isn’t real and neither is Santa Claus.”

I was sitting in my bedroom chatting with my 5-year-old son last weekend when those eight words came out of his mouth and nearly knocked me off the bed.

We hadn’t been talking about God or Santa Claus, so what led him to that firm declaration? And how was I supposed to answer him?

“Why do you say that?” I asked lamely. “Of course they are.”

“I don’t know,” he said, shrugging and putting his focus back on the Spiderman coloring book in his lap.

“We’re going to church tomorrow,” I told my husband minutes later. “It’s a must.”

Our family usually spends weekends recovering from the hectic week. Sundays are full of laundry and cleaning and playing with the kids.

Santa Claus had been part of the equation for the past few weeks.

God? Not as much.

My husband and I are believers, but we haven’t placed a priority lately on a Sunday ritual that helps us connect with that belief. Maybe we thought believing and praying when necessary was enough.

Truthfully, we came from a church in Michigan that we loved. Both our children were baptized there, and we looked forward to going and hearing Pastor Paul give a heartfelt sermon every week. His words always inspired discussion. The choir always put a song in our throats. The hugs and handshakes made us feel as if we truly belonged. There was a peace that came from that.

We have been trying to find something to measure up ever since.

And lately, we’ve been doing laundry and cleaning instead of continuing that Sunday mission. It’s easy to do until your 5-year-old says something that jolts you out of your comfortable weekend coma.

So, at the risk of sounding trite, I have made finding our new church home and spiritual path my New Year’s resolution.

“The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” Ezekiel 43:5

I’ve decided to take my resolution one step further, though. Many people attend a certain denomination church because that’s where their parents and grandparents went. I grew up Catholic because my mother took me to a Catholic church and her mother took her to one. My husband grew up Lutheran, and we attended a Lutheran church in Michigan with our boys.

I want to make sure we do our research before totally becoming part of a spiritual community here. That’s going to mean trying out as many churches as we can to decide which one is the best fit. Of course, a belief system is just as important as the people, music and leader, so we will look for something that matches our religious ideals, too.

We started last Sunday with a Lutheran church, but we’re going to try and attend every denomination that will have us.

It’s a good first step that we are a family of believers and try to instill religious values in our children at home. But it will be even better to be propped up by a community of like-minded people every Sunday, giving us courage to face the week ahead.

Eventually my 5-year-old is going to learn more about Santa. I’m hoping he’ll change his mind about God, too.