Polar Express

Somewhere in the midst of last weeks snow storms, Bria and I enjoyed a viewing of the Polar Express.  I love that movie and look forward to seeing it every year.  This time, however, when I watched it I saw more of the parallels to faith.  I knew Chris VanAllsburg, the author of the book and Calvin College grad (my alma mater :)), had written with that intent.  He has often said "the Polar Express is about faith, and the power of imagination to sustain faith."

The main character and Billy, the 'boy from across the tracks' both had a hard time beginning their journey of faith...they were both hesitant to get on the 'Polar Express', but for very different reasons.  I have see that same hesitancy in my own life and in the lives of so many people I care about.  Where will the journey take me? With so much disappointment in my life, why should I trust God?

Just like the story of the Polar Express, the journey of faith is adventurous, unpredictable, filled with ups and downs, friends who support and people who annoy, and wrong choices that lead to dead ends.  By the end of our movie, I was crying....I wanted to call all of my friends who are struggling with their faith and journey and say, BELIEVE!  "Get on the train!  'Cause if it doesn't all make sense right now, if it doesn't seem like Christmas is going to work out, it will, in the end.". I wanted everyone to listen to the conductor when he says, "All aboard!" The important thing is deciding to get on with your journey of faith.  The train is always on time!

I didn't call my friends that night 'cause I knew they would think I was crazy, but I knew God saw my heart and heard my prayers, for them and me.  What's your favorite part of the Polar Express?  Who are you most like and why? Are you on the train?

(Interview conducted by Anita Silvey (Summer 2000), at Van Allsburg's home in Providence, Rhode Island.)