Do they call it ‘Chinese Food’ in China?

DSCF1557If you ever find yourself standing on a street corner in Shanghai, you might find these handy tips helpful – I wish I had them before I went there…

  • It’s really, really far away…like on the other side of the world far away.  You should pack some snacks for the trip….and definitely go to the washroom before you leave.
  • You will stand out.  Especially if you’re ‘Caucasian’ with white hair.  It’s like ‘Where’s Waldo’, but the total opposite.
  • Crosswalks are for dare-devils…unless your host insists that it’s okay for you to step out into traffic, ‘because the locals are terrified of killing a foreigner’.
  • If you have a language barrier, giving them the ‘thumbs up’ sign of approval doesn’t translate.  They probably think you’re asking to hitchhike.
  • Massages are very popular there – everyone goes to get massages…but if a lady approaches you on the street and asks if you want a massage, say no.  In fact, just walk away and pretend you didn’t see them.
  • People will try to sell you Rolex watches that only cost $50 here….see above.
  • $1 = 5 RMB (Chinese Dollars) and you should haggle down to less than half of any price for merchandise.  Make a ridiculous offer, and when they say ‘no‘, just walk away – they’ll come and find you.
  • You won’t find Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls on any menu, but you will find jellyfish, duck tongues, eel, snake, and other things you didn’t know you could eat.
  • When your host offers you an exotic dish that you really aren’t interested in trying, it’ll get put on your plate anyway….and you better eat it.
  • Forks and knives look like 2 sticks…it’s okay to stab your food with them.
  • Don’t drink the water unless it comes in a bottle or has been boiled….just trust me on this one.
  • Tea comes in 2 flavors; black or green. Both are safe to drink.
  • There’s a lot of people there…like more than you can count.  Even if you could, double it.
  • The roads seem the same as here, but 4 lanes means between 3 and 6 lanes of traffic there, and the lines are only vague recommendations.
  • The concept of personal space on the subway in Shanghai doesn’t exist.  Have a mint before commuting.
  • The police drive around with their emergency lights flashing, but they don’t seem to be going anywhere in particular, and no one gets out of their way.  I don’t know what would happen in a real emergency….for example, if a foreigner gets run over at a crosswalk.

For more travel tips, check out my blog; ‘No Gravy for Old Men’.

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The Faceplant

facebook logoThey must be handing out parkas in Purgatory.  This week, I joined Facebook.  Yes, welcome me to 2004.

Social networking has been one of necessity rather than desire for the most part.  Joining the awesome and exposed world of Facebook was a frightening thought for a guy like me, who uses this blog site as a semi-anonymous way to share deep thoughts and feelings (okay, sometimes not-so-deep thoughts) without losing control.  This can make for a pretty lonely existence – no disrespect to my current group of followers, of course.

Baring one’s soul to the cyberworld is an intimidating venture when you can’t just take it back, so I’ve put it off with lame excuses and procrastination.

The trouble is, when you’re used to 2 soup cans with a string between them (the kids will have to look that reference up), eventually there isn’t anyone holding up the other can, and you just look foolish talking to yourself.

But hey, I’m a modern, tech-savvy kind of guy.  Just because there’s a little snow on the old roof, doesn’t mean there’s not a hip party happening in the living room, right?  I know how to set up a printer and scan for viruses on my computer. I can link multiple e-mail addresses to my iPhone.  I’m in touch with how my kids talk and act – I just don’t understand them.  Facebook should be a breeze, right?

I’m 2 days in with my new profile, and I think I’ve already broken a bunch of covenant rules – at least that’s the impression I get from my 2 teens.  Lessons on an open-forum interchange like this will probably all be learned the hard way.  I didn’t even know there were rules.  I guess etiquette is a better word than rules, really.

Like a new golfer, it’ll be others who ‘shush’ you while someone is teeing off that you’ll learn from, unfortunately.

Here’s some that I’ve already broken:

  • Don’t ever tag photos of people who don’t want to be tagged
  • Don’t ever reply to a post that’s more than a week old
  • Don’t fill out your ‘timeline’ unless you know what you’re doing – I have a highlight about leaving a job a year ago….not intentionally
  • Don’t ‘friend’ your kids’ friends – you’ll see things you just can’t take back
  • Always think through responses or comments on posts before you hit ‘enter’

I’m up to 50-something friends already – whoo hoo!  Trouble is, I don’t know what to say to anyone.  Do I start sharing ‘selfies’ and posting photos of my dog sleeping with her tongue hanging out?  Does anyone else really care about this stuff?

Do I need to ‘like’ every inspirational message?  Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?

Is there an addictive component to Facebook that I should be aware of?  I find myself checking it every few minutes.  This can’t be healthy.

It’s a pretty steep learning curve I’m on, but as long as I don’t get ‘unfriended’ by everyone before I figure how to navigate this new world correctly, I’ll consider this deep dive into modern communication a successful experiment.  It can’t last that long anyway, right?

‘Like’ this post, or I’ll start sending pictures of me hitting the ‘refresh’ button over and over again…

 

 

 

The Miracle of Miracles

Miracle

This past weekend, the world watched an historical event take place in Rome, where 2 popes were canonized as saints, while being proceeded over by 2 living popes.  This has never happened before in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, and is unlikely to ever happen again.

I bet the souvenir shop at the Vatican made a killing!

Part of the ‘sainthood’ vetting process is the verification of the act of performing miracles.  I think that most people outside of faith belief systems see the concept of miracles as one that’s limited to ancient writings in the Bible.  Was it just that the people who lived thousands of years ago were more in-tune with the the manifestation of such supernatural events, or was it just a lack of modern knowledge that led them to believe that common things were considered ‘godly’ back then?

I have to admit, I get a bit squeamish when people throw the ‘miracle’ word around, especially when they’re talking about having a parking ticket lost in the government systems or their favourite sports team came back from certain defeat to win a series.  These are probably not the types of miracles that would get anyone designated as a saint (unless your team’s name happens to be the ‘Saints’).

Basically, in our modern and enlightened society, we have managed to relegate miracles to the same interest and legitimacy as fortune tellers and circus side shows.  Miracles to most of us are nothing more than facts that haven’t been explained yet.  I think that’s a mistake.

Miracles, big and small happen all the time.  I know people who have had miracles happen to them over the years.  Some were true medical mystery healings that have happened without explanation – an incurable condition, suffered for years is suddenly absent.  Gone forever.  Others were more practical – someone suddenly and permanently quitting smoking after praying about it.  No withdrawal, no nicotine fits.

Sometimes miracles are as simple as having prayers answered.

I still think though, that miracles get bad press – or worse, no press at all.  It’s because of this that the idea of miracles happening in our digital world isn’t given much credit.

I to get caught up in the cynical side of miracles at times.  I’m not likely to build a shrine in my living room if I found a dust-bunny in the shape of the Virgin Mary.  It’s more likely, my finding a dust-bunny in my living room at all would be a miracle, since I’m never the one to clean under the couch.

But something happened last weekend that made me revisit my belief in miracles.  At the end of our church service, during the announcements, the minister asked if there were any updates from the congregation.   A little girl, about 10 years old, timidly put up her hand.

Her mom has been battling cancer for the past year, and has had a terrible time with it, as you can imagine.  Every time things would look up for her, more devastating news would follow, and she would be sent back to the hospital for more tests, chemotherapy, biopsy’s, and so on.  Mom was brave beyond belief.  Her Maritime strength kept her pushing for any help the medical establishment could offer, but in reality, the prognosis was not very good.

The church has a prayer chain – a group of people who dedicate enormous energy to praying for whatever is given to them, and this mom was at the top of the list. She was added to the prayers at every Sunday service as well, and others who know her said quiet prayers during their day or as they sat for meals.

She was an open book about her pain, suffering, strength, and even the unpleasant details of the extremes the doctors were taking to try to fight this terrible disease.

This Sunday, the little girl who put up her hand was invited to come to the front of the church to speak.  She was too short for the microphone, but it turns out she really didn’t need it.  She loudly and proudly announced to everyone in attendance that her Mom had cancer, but it now it was just gone.  Mom doesn’t have cancer any more.  The entire congregation was in tears.

The back story is that when ‘Mom’ was to have a biopsy on the 10cm tumor last week, the radiologist could find nothing to test.  Just scar tissue remained.  The tumor was completely gone.  A miracle.

And now here we are, you and me, faced with a decision to make.  Do we raise our hands to God and say ‘Thank you for answering our prayers’, or do we scramble for tangible reasons that this tumor could have disappeared naturally, in order to discredit the power of prayer, and any proof of this miracle happening.

It’s not unlike conspiracy theories, isn’t it?  Any doubt is proof.  Maybe she never really had cancer. Maybe the chemotherapy killed the tumor.  Maybe.  I have no doubt the skilled doctors played a role.

Maybe this Mom and her daughter have a little more time to spend together at home planning for the future, instead of sitting in hospitals wondering if there will even be a future.  Maybe, like the 2 popes, a real-life miracle happened, and we should thank God for it.

Maybe you’ll think a bit differently about miracles too, like I will.

 

The cruelest “ism” of all

They roll their sarcastic little eyes while they try to explain to you for the 10th time what ‘tweeting’ is.  That look is deliberately designed to make you feel stupid.  And the kids are very good at it.   Don’t you just want to smack them?

I get this treatment a lot lately – not so much from my kids, although I did get some attitude last week during a family card game.  Good thing too, since I didn’t have a topic to blog about this week…Thanks ‘C’.

It seems that the most unchecked ‘ism’ out there is ageism.  That’s right – being treated unfairly, rudely, rejected, or outright ignored because of ones age.

The big problem here is that the age stereotype just gets worse with each passing day.  Let’s face it; you’re not going to get any more black, short, sexed (well, maybe a little), ethnic, or whatever, but you are definitely going to get older.

One friend always points out that getting older is better than the alternative…funny guy!  I want to smack him too.

I have a particular issue with other people who are already at this age, or are close enough that they should know better.  I thought we were supposed to support each other.

And we should stick together, right?  We should run out and get a great car insurance discount then brag about to a bunch of 20 somethings.

I was at an interview recently, and as it was winding down, I asked the gentleman across from me if there was anything in my application that was a problem for him.  He said the only potential issue was that I was ‘over qualified’.  Over qualified?  I thought being more qualified for a job was a good thing, but we all know what that really means, don’t we? It means we’re too old and can’t learn new things.  That we’re hard-coded to an old way of doing things and are too inflexible to learn a new job.

The kicker is, this guy was roughly my age. Way to stick up for your fellow discriminatee, dude!

That’s something else that is a complete ‘no-no’ for our generation.  We’re not allowed to say certain things, are we?

‘Yo! What up!’ is completely unacceptable when addressing your neighbour while putting out the garbage in your housecoat and slippers.

You can never say ‘That’s badass’ when describing a friends new golf club or riding lawn mower.

If someone is planning a long road trip to the coast with their kids and dog, you’re not allowed to say ‘That’s Cray Cray’.

You’ll never see anyone ‘Twerking’ at a curling club dance.  Okay, that one is probably a good thing…no one wants to see that.  Besides, there might be hip injuries.

But we should be free to do it if we like, right?  No discrimination.

I tried to do a ‘selfie’ but it just came out creepy…and I don’t know who I’d send it to anyway, but I should be allowed as long as all those teens are doing it, right?

Maybe that’s the key to this whole ‘ism’ problem.  We need to normalize behavior that might not fit our social norms.  Not because we really want to share photos of our lunch on Facebook, or ‘hashtag’ the Air Supply concert we’re at, but because we deserve the right to do those things that suppress us.

I could be the Rosa Parks of middle-aged men!  Who’s with me???

Oh wait – there’s a patio furniture sale on at Lee Valley this week.  Maybe we can fight for injustice next weekend…

 

 

 

 

 

Man’s Greatest Mystery

Throughout the ages, great mysteries have captured the hearts and minds of man and spawned exhaustive and dangerous expeditions, deep scientific debate, wild conspiracy theories and legendary folklore.

Even today, television shows are crowded with wild ideas about how the pyramids or Stonehenge were created, including such outlandish theories as alien intervention.

The Easter Island ‘Men’, the Loch Ness Monster, The Holy Grail, Big Foot, even crop circles keep us intrigued and in search of definitive conclusion.  I suppose it is our natural curiosity that drives us to solve these questions once and for all.

The truly greatest mystery ever faced by man, however, isn’t any of these.  No, the greatest mystery of all, in reality is something so confusing that it has silenced half of the world’s population.  They refuse to discuss it, investigate it or research it, and have resigned themselves to gleeful ignorance.

What’s truly amazing about this mystery, is that the answers are readily available to us, but we refuse to seek the truth.  Why is that?  Even the legendary Knights Templar, carefully guarding secrets of the Holy Grail and the lineage of Jesus of Nazareth dare not tread into these murky waters.

I’m talking, of course, not about life on Mars, or the spoilage-defying lifespan of a fruit cake, but of the one true mystery of mankind:  Purses!

This innocuous little fashion accessory has defied logic, physics and has created paralyzing fear in the bravest of men. In it’s simplest form, the purse is nothing more than a bag with a handle on it, but has launched some into the fashion stratosphere and others into bankruptcy.

Once on the shoulder of any woman, the purse conjures magical powers.  It can make a lady’s knees quiver with its beauty, or make a lady’s knees buckle with its weight.  Girls swoon in high-end fashion boutiques at purses that cost more than a mini-van.

As delicate and beautiful as they may be, given to a man to  hold, they take on the properties of a sack of anthrax.  Men perspire, and use only the extreme ends of their finger-tips, desperately attempting to limit physical contact with the bag.

Just observe the look on any guys face as his wife/girlfriend/mother hands them their purse and says ‘hold this while I try on this dress’.  Sheer panic.  He holds the purse awkwardly, keeping it a good distance from his body as if to try to convince everyone else in the store that it isn’t his.

Hand a purse to a girl, and the reaction is completely different.  They immediately size it up, turn it around and around, check the handle and clasps, then cozy it up close, snugly to their shoulder, and rush over to the nearest mirror to see how it looks on them.

The outward properties of the purse may indeed be a great mystery to most men, but it pales in comparison to the truly enigmatic features of the inside of the hand bag.

What deep secrets lie beneath the zippers, clasps, or snaps is the stuff of legends.  For men, the contents of the average purse are and always will be as taboo as walking in on your parents having sex.  You must never peer into it, or like Medusa’s spell, you’d immediately turn to stone, or worse, uncover a secret about your sweetie that can’t be undone.  Once you know, it’s like trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube.

Even for the owner of the purse, it’s contents are often a puzzlement, and items placed in it seem to disappear into a vast black hole, and can only be recovered with significant effort, and usually in a really inappropriate time and place, like when standing in a rainstorm, locked out of your car or house.

I was at the grocery store the other day, and I watched as woman after woman, knowing that they’d have to find their credit card to pay for the groceries, didn’t start the frantic search until the amount appeared on the little screen.  It’s not like they had other financial means if the amount was less.  I don’t get it.  Then, despite the amount of time they take carefully putting things back in the purse, it takes 10 minutes to retrieve it again. ‘Now, where did I put that debit card?’, while a very long line builds up behind them.

This last puzzlement seems to confuse me the most.  Somehow, when a woman is looking for something in her purse, it gives her universal license to block the way of everyone behind her without any apology.

‘Honey, this person is trying to get past you’.

‘Well, he’ll have to wait.  I’m looking for my shopping list’.

Purses, like the ones Mary Poppins or Hermione Granger have, seem to be able to hold items of far greater mass than the dimensions of the purse itself.  While a deep mystery that defies the laws of nature, they sure do come in handy!

How is it that a purse barely big enough to hold a super-model’s lunch, can actually house a full set of keys, wallet, makeup bag, lip gloss, change purse, cell phone, kleenex, Tylenol, nasal spray, sticky notes and pen, address book, baby wipes, sewing kit, scarf, pocket calendar, extra panties, and crackers?  Then, when you get to the store, you hand her your wallet and keys, and she finds room for them!

Yes, the common purse is likely the greatest, and scariest mystery that any man will face, and it’s best that we simply accept the unknown magical powers that lie within these handy fashion accessories and leave well enough alone.

Like the curious cat, it may end badly if we were to dig within the silky walls of the purse and attempt to do any more than appreciate it’s special properties from afar….so next time you ask for something and your better half says ‘It’s in my purse’.  Don’t dare try to retrieve it yourself.  Gingerly and with great reverence, pass it to them to reach in and pull that rabbit out the the proverbial hat.

Road rage; my old friend

There must be a special place in heaven for commuters.

Every morning – sometimes as early as 5:30 – numb, sleep-deprived working stiffs like me stagger out to our cars, cabs, buses, trains, or whatever else drags us to our places of work.

I spent a long time commuting with a co-worker.  Our drives could go for extensive stretches without a word.  Probably because I was half-asleep behind the wheel, or after enough time traveling together, we just ran out of stuff to talk about.

Like she had some sort of commuter turrets syndrome, she’d break the silence by randomly blurting out the deciphered code to a personalized license plate, or make a comment on a topic we stalled on a week ago, snapping me out of my driver coma.  It was good, because I’m pretty sure I was in a full trance most of the time behind the wheel.

There was also an entertainment factor in it for me, trying to figure out what the heck she was talking about – kind of like ‘Jeopardy’ but without that condescending Alex Trebek telling me that I’m wrong.

Regardless of our conversation, or lack thereof, it kept my mind off the stupid drivers around me.  I was so into my zen driving that I would even let in that jerk who just drove down the shoulder of the highway for the past 300 yards because his time was clearly more important than the rest of us.  Oohhhhmmmmm… be tranquil.

Now that I’m back in the workforce, I’m left to my own dark thoughts as I traverse vast expanses of gridlock every morning alone.

It’s surprising how quickly that little red devil, ‘Rage’, plops it’s smoldering butt into the passenger seat and convinces me that I’m the only one on the road who deserves a license.

“Come on! The left lane is for passing!” I’d mumble, hoping that it somehow telepathically reaches the inept driver ahead of me.

I get annoyed with all the typical stuff.  People not signalling, driving in the dark with their lights off, going too slow/fast based on what I believe is the exact right speed at that moment, cutting in – the usual driving sins.

Lately though, because of the distance I now have to travel, I’ve had a new little evil one join my invisible passengers.  He’s the gas station grump.

This nasty little dude is way less accepting and patient than normal old road rage.  He doesn’t even wait until a car is moving.

‘Gus’, as I’ve come to call him, appeared a couple of weeks ago while I was on my way home after a really long day.  The gas station was particularly busy, and with the lousy weather, most cars were in need of a top up of windshield washer fluid and maybe even a quick washing.

This made for a long wait for my turn at the pump.

You assume a level of etiquette with things like pumping gas.  For example, if a car is waiting to use the pump after you’re done, you need to expedite the refueling process as much as possible.  Don’t use those squeegees to wash the entire vehicle once you’re done filling up.  If the car is that dirty, go get in line at the car wash, for Pete’s sake!

When they invented ‘pay at the pump’, it was designed to speed up the refueling work so that drivers didn’t have to then leave their cars and wait in line inside the building to pay.  It was also designed to reduce gas and dash incidents.

I don’t know if it’s the demographics of this particular gas station neighbourhood, but it seems like every driver, instead of opting to the quick and efficient way to pay, fills up, then heads into the little building to chat with the attendant.

Gus doesn’t like this one bit!

The other night, the cars were 4 deep, waiting to be fed.  One gentleman filled his tank, then slowing started digging around the front seat of his car.  He emerged with what I assume was his wallet, then sauntered slowly towards the attendant kiosk. Picture light gray smoke coming out of my ears…

When he got inside, instead of promptly making is payment, he wandered around the little store.  He picked up some lottery tickets and a coffee, then to my amazement, grabbed the washroom key!  Gus was FUMING by this point.

Of course, while this was going on, all the other ‘old-school’ customers started to form a huge line to pay by cash, which meant that my wait was getting longer by the second.

And that’s what it comes down to now.  Seconds.  We used to talk about the ‘New York Minute’, which I’ve been told, is the time after the light turns green, before the car behind you honks his horn at you because you haven’t gone yet.

Now, it’s like milliseconds before we loose our cool.  We’ve become conditioned to instant response to things.  Computers that lag more than an brief moment are called ‘slow’.  Lunches are piping hot in a minute from the microwave.

Maybe that’s why we’ve become so impatient on the roads.  There’s some sort of inverse effect on us.  The quicker things get, the less patience we have.

People run red lights like it’s expected, especially when they’re making a left turn.  I guess they figure that they’ve been there long enough, so to heck with everyone else, they’re going!

I think I’m worried about Gus.  You expect to react to bad driving at times, especially when someone causes you to take drastic actions on the road to avoid an accident.  Maybe we all have a bit of that angry rage inside us from time to time, but this new passenger who shows up even when I’m not moving is a problem.

Maybe if I fill the passenger seat with real, live people who have a calming effect on me, there won’t be room for Gus or road rage any more.  At the very least, these nasty little guys might not be heard over the conversations about personalized license plates or half-finished discussions from a week ago.

Then, I might turn back into the ‘zen’ driver who is happy to let the other guy in ahead of me….as long as he’s using his signal indicator.

The Red Suit Conspiracy – believing in Santa

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.

Merry Christmas!