Jimmy is 42 years old, short in stature, has a receding hairline and an easy smile. Jimmy has Down syndrome. He paints delicate abstract watercolors that look like cherry blossoms. And he believes in Santa.
When Jimmy was a small boy, his parents were unsure how he would process the Santa legend so they told him they were Mommy Santa and Daddy Santa.
But now Jimmy wants to see the real Santa. When people tell Jimmy that Santa isn't real, he says, "Yes he is. All you have to do is believe."
It sounds so easy when Jimmy says it.
Here we are in the midst of the Christmas season, a season so rich with belief that Macy's has made Believe their official trademark. "Macy's -- A million reasons to Believe."
Yet the real and rather gritty Christmas narrative features a cast of characters that struggled to believe.
When Zacharias was serving in the temple, an angel announced that he and his wife Elizabeth would bear a son that would be the forerunner to the Messiah. Zacharias protested asking, "How will I know for certain?"
Just like that, the old familiar seeds of doubt gave rise to disbelief. Zacharias lost his power of speech until his son John was born.
When an angel visited Mary to tell her she would be with child, she was perplexed and kept pondering what the angel said. Mary was stunned, but Mary believed.
When Mary told Joseph about the pregnancy and the visit from the angel, he initially did not believe. In his defense, not many would.
King Herod? He was one that did believe. Herod so ardently believed in the Christ child that he ordered the Magi to report back to him when they found the baby. Threatened by the very notion of a challenge to power, Herod schemed to kill the baby.
The threads of belief are woven through the Christmas story as well, but they are often preceded by a brief encounter with disbelief. The shepherds were terrified when the multitude of angels pierced the night sky. But they believed and headed straight away for Bethlehem.
Belief and disbelief have a long history of entanglement. Like the father who brought his son to Jesus and asked if he could heal him. "If?" came the indignant reply.
"I believe, help my disbelief," the father cried.
That same cry echoes today. Help my disbelief that wonders: Will God really provide in hard times? Help my disbelief that questions: Does God truly care for the lonely, heal the sick and walk through the valleys? Help my disbelief that whispers: I'm not worthy. Help my disbelief that asks: Did God really make me with a purpose and a plan?
At the heart of Christmas is an invitation to believe -- that God the creator took on flesh and bones, humbled himself and came in human form to give mankind a better picture of himself. That gift in the manger holds more riches than a million Macy's.
And yet, Macy's has it right. Believe.
It's deceptively easy. The hard things often are.