WARNING: THIS BLOG MAY MAKE FOR AN UNCOMFORTABLE CHAT IF LITTLE ONES READ IT.
As a kid, I was pretty gullible. I tended to think that what anyone told me was the truth, otherwise, why would they say it?
I also spent a lot of time getting sucked in to things. Maybe that’s why I hate gambling so much. Not that I have a moral stance on it, but just because I’m lousy at it.
When you’re really little, like pre-school or Kindergarten aged, Santa is like God to you. What an incredible being, who rides around at night in a sleigh being pulled by flying reindeer, leaving presents under the tree for every kid in the world. It’s no wonder kids run screaming from him at the mall. He’s super human!
Of course, toddlers don’t think in practical terms. We are told about Santa, we see the gifts, so therefore, Santa is real. Simple.
As you get a bit older, you start to see some cracks in the Santa story, though. Mostly, it’s from older kids laughing or beating up some poor sucker who blathered that they still believe. Who wants that kind of Christmas gift?
I remember when I lost my ‘Christmas Virginity’. It took a while, much like my rea…..never mind. Anyway, it started out with little things like opening the gifts with Santa’s signature on them, then going to our cousins house to see similar Santa gifts with different hand writing on the presents. That sure seemed odd.
Then there would be Christmas Eve when we were tucked not so neatly into our beds, and I’d hear what sounded like Mom and Dad stumbling down the stairs with something big.
I spent some serious time contemplating this dilemma. I mean, on one hand, for every Christmas up to now, the manifestation of the great and powerful Santa was clearly evident. Shopping malls had him on display, Christmas specials confirmed his existence, and our parents and older family members assured us that he was very real. Then, as sure as the sun would come up, presents were littered around the tree.
Being the gullible kid I was, and knowing I was gullible, meant that I had to take serious stock of things. I didn’t want to be that kid getting beat up in the school yard for believing – especially if it wasn’t true.
So, I weighed the evidence before me. The gifts showed up as promised every year, with no trace of them in the house before I went to bed, and all the television, radio, and adult conversation said he was real. It’s what I was raised to believe.
On the other hand, the idea that one man could circumnavigate the entire globe in one night flying around with magic reindeer, stopping at virtually every house on the planet, and little elves making cool toys like etch-a-sketch and rock-em-sock-em robots didn’t seem very likely.
So, it came down to one key factor. Was the Santa story a magical truth or an elaborate hoax? When faced with this at the age of 8 or 9, I decided that the only logical explanation was that he must exist, simply because I concluded that there was no way an entire adult world could support such an elaborate ruse for that long. Not a chance!
I was happily resolved with my results until one day when I was playing at a friends house, and he said to me, “I don’t believe in Santa. Do you?“. Gulp! The acid test. Could I stand behind my conviction?
No! Of course not. I blurted out, unconvincingly, “No, I don’t either.”
Just then, my friend’s mother walked in and scolded us for telling the secret when his little sister was just in the other room.
Wait a minute. I was lying when I said that I didn’t believe. Now, this lady unwittingly confirmed my worst fear. Santa didn’t exist after all.
I was quietly heart-broken. All those dumb adults really could keep the secret. So much for logical deduction!
Through adolescence and early adulthood, I was wise and smug about Santa. I would mentally criticize parents who tried to convince their kids that the jolly old elf was working hard up at the North Pole, so they’d better be nice…..or else!
That is, until I had kids of my own.
When you have children, your cynicism about things starts to soften. You start to immerse yourself into their wonderful little fantasy worlds. And along with that, you begin to rethink your stance on the whole Santa conspiracy.
I took a logical approach to Santa, just like I did when I was 8. Putting aside for a moment, just who Santa is, lets look at things:
- He still comes late at night, delivering gifts to children – CHECK
- He works all year in his ‘workshop’ so the kids will have gifts under the tree by Christmas – CHECK
- He brings joy and amazement to little children on Christmas morning – CHECK
I think that if you put a few details aside, like the little reindeer, and the North Pole, Santa is every bit as real as us. I think we, in our smug, all-knowing youth, had it completely wrong. The little kids were right after all.
Santa does exist. There is no conspiracy after all.
Great, old St. Nickolaus, the Bishop of Myra in Turkey who is said to have given gifts to children at the time, was only the first in a very long line.
Now, those honoured enough, and who have a hint of that childhood belief, work all year long in their own ‘workshops’ (office), along side the ‘elves’ (co-workers), and deliver gifts on that magical night to their little children.
What an awesome job to have. Being Santa Claus. If all those parents slogging away all year, then standing in line at the mall don’t believe in Santa, they are as lost to the magic as any child who stops believing at an early age.
Let me stress that Christmas is NOT about giving and getting presents, or going into debt while burning through your credit limit at the mall. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. In that spirit, however, bringing joy to children seems like a pretty nice way to celebrate God’s love for us.
Don’t give up on Santa. He’s real, and he’s in each of us. The sleigh and red suit may be gone, but what he did, and what he represents is as real as ever.