~photo courtesy of Tiffany's Tidbits
The truth about Santa.
Santa Claus is both real and unreal; true and untrue. None of which matters to me. I believe in Santa Claus. Or, should I say, I believe in the Myth of Santa Claus. I love the prospect of Jolly Ol' Saint Nicholas and his Elves readying themselves for his magical flight around the globe delivering presents to young and old alike. I like it that he keeps a list, checks it twice, then decides who has been naughty and who has been found worthy of receiving gifts. I like to think his naughty list is parse.
His list making is not so far removed from another list mentioned in Christian scriptures. There, as well, is a reference to a list. The "Book of Life," as it seems to be called, whereby, those named will be awarded eternal life and those left off, well, no presents under the tree for you! (See Revelation.)
Santa rewarding good behavior and punishing bad is not that far removed from some mythical God doing the same. Fact is, I find Santa much more pleasing. At lease he laughs alot. My impression of the other bearded one is that he spends most of his time angry, jealous and overly enamored with right doctrine. I doubt if he laughs much. I think his medicine cabinet wreaks of Pepto-Bismol.
My mother, God rest her soul, continued to sign Christmas present tags with "To Richard from Santa," well into her eighties. I loved it!
I don't recall any experience , gut-wrenching or otherwise, when I learned that Santa was not real. This may have been due to my mother's long-standing ritual. I often imagined my mother chuckling as she penned each and every tag before mailing Christmas packages to her grown son.
My parents were far too busy trying to hide the secret of Dad's drinking and carousing to worry themselves with "the truth about Santa." My mother wrestled more with her belief in the Catholic Church and the God it adheres to. She certainly did not sign Christmas tags with "To Richard from the Pope." Thank Santa!
My point is that in this scientific age that we find ourselves in, the question of what is true and what isn't has narrowed so much that there is little, if any, room for the power of Myth. Even the religious have fallen prey, spending inordinate amounts of time and verbage to prove that faith ought to be grounded in scientific "facts" rather than, well, faith!
Find the actual artifacts of Noah's ark, for instance, then we will know that everything written in the Bible is factually true. I suppose the same could be said for Santa's workshop! Heaven help us if we ever scare up a real Elf!
And don't even get me started on efforts to scientifically prove the Genesis Creation accounts!
Santa Claus is a Myth - a lovely, charming and completely believable Myth. He has a rich history, one that, over the centuries, has gone through magical changes.
Quite frankly, I believe we need Santa. We need to believe in something beyond ourselves that has the power to not only bless us with presents we ask for , but, who also acknowledges that acting morally in the world is worth it! God knows we are uncertain about that!
We need Santa because we need the whimsical, the magical and the delightful during the darkest days of Winter. We need light in the darkness. We need laughter to dry our tears. We need hope in the midst of despair; faith in the midst of so much disbelief; love in the midst of so much that seems evil.
The truth is, whether Santa exists or not, one can embrace the Santa Myth as if he does. The Myth is real. The Myth is worth celebrating, lived out in ways such as my mother, or, in whatever magical, creative and life-enhancing ways one chooses. From lighted Santas on the lawn, to Santa displays in the home, to the simple, yet, whimsical words on package tags, Santa can be the "reason for the season" if you so choose.
And in this age when the Christian church let the retailers pimp it's sacred hymns about Jesus, I would much rather hear "Here Comes Santa Claus" playing over my head as I shopped than "Silent Night." At least the first contributes to the festivness of the season, while the other should stay within the Sanctuary where it belongs.
Santa is way more fun.