Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa, faith and miracles

If you are under the age of, oh, 20, you may want to stop reading now. I'm going to talk about some things that you might not want to know. If you're over 20 you might want to stop anyway, because I hope to challenge some of your assumptions and shattered beliefs. Though, really, isn't that what blogging is all about?

It's the season where overweight elderly men in decidedly out-of-fashion red and white suits are all the rage. You know who I'm talking about. Mr. Claus. Santa.

I have no interest in Santa-bashing. I'm not going to explore his better-than-the-NSA security (after all, he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake), nor will I deign to impugn his fondness for bouncing kids on his knee. I trust that he is what he seems to be, a kindly old man, a great listener, a generous soul who manages to accomplish miracles over the course of one night.

That's right, I'm suggesting that maybe, somehow, Santa is real. Sure, at some point in your life someone told you that your parents put those presents under the tree, that it was all a sham. When I found out, I cried. I felt deeply betrayed by my family, by all the people who said they were Santa, by the world. Some of the magic was gone. But the kid who told me that was wrong.

I'm tempted to go into some kind of Yes, Virginia-esque rant about how Santa lives in all of us, but I won't. Instead I'll simply suggest this. Of course Santa is real. He is believed in by hundreds of thousands of kids all around the world, and reality is highly subjective. For them, he is real, flesh and blood, no-sense-questioning-the-miracles kind of real. There are other things thousands, millions of people believe in with less evidence than Santa, that they have absolute faith in. UFOs. God. Miracles. Who am I to disuade them of their belief brings them comfort and joy while harming no one else? Who am I to say that the things they believe in aren't real? Isn't that part of what faith is about - believing in something you can't prove is real? Kind of like string theory?

Sure, Santa needs help with his miracles. We all need help with miracles. I think it's kind of miraculous that my Jewish parents went to the trouble of drinking the milk, eating the cookies and leaving me notes on Christmas (not to mention giving me gifts) so I wouldn't feel left out when the other kids got visits from Santa. Thanks, Mom and Dad. I appreciate that miracle, it was a wonder for me as a kid. And I didn't feel left out.

I think it's kind of miraculous that so many people at work gave to Toys for Tots so kids they didn't know would have something to play with this holiday season.

I think it's kind of miraculous that we're all still here in the first place.

So maybe Santa is that force in the world that reminds us to be kind to each other, that we can extend ourselves a little bit more to help each other out. That listening to one another doesn't cost anything beyond some time and patience. If Santa is kindness and listening and patience - those miraculous forces that can change lives and the world - then I'm a believer, no matter what anyone says. It's worth having faith in something.

(c) 2007 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.truestorieshonestlies.blogspot.com.
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