A few months ago, I watched a computer animated movie with my boys entitled, The Polar Express. An eight year old boy gets on a train with other kids heading toward the North Pole where they eventually meet Santa Claus in his snow glistening glory. The train conductor resembles and has the voice of Tom Hanks. The story revolves around the children’s train ride and brief visit with Santa.
At the end of the film, when the eight year old boy (who remains nameless throughout the movie) disembarks the train to return home, the conductor imparts a final word of wisdom. With a compassionate twinkle in his eye, he declares, “One thing about trains, it doesn’t matter where they’re going, what matters is deciding to get on.” These words hang in the cold winter air to encourage the heart of life’s timid traveler.
May I suggest, against the Polar Express, that it’s not only important to step onto the Christian train; we must also consider our destination. With all due respect to Tom Hanks and company, our target really does matter. In real life, the initial step of a journey is usually taken in light of the destination. The key lesson of the Polar Express was learned by the boy in the North Pole with Santa. The destination was crucial. If the train had traveled southward to Key West, away from Santa, the boy might have gotten a tan, but the lesson would have been lost.
Likewise, Paul the Apostle reveals to the Ephesians that all of creation is destined to be summed up in Jesus Christ (1:10). The Church already enjoys this spiritual union while simultaneously looking forward to its completion when Jesus returns. This destination not only provides our hearts with joy for the journey, it also gives us a purpose to inform our thoughts and conduct from day to day.