Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Telling Life: Santa Claus and other stories of faith

I love Santa. I am not Christian and I was told the "truth" about Santa many, many years ago, but I still love him. He's my guy. At his most basic (ignoring the obvious consumer-oriented interpretations) Santa reminds us that kindness and generosity matter. He reminds us that we can ask for what we need. Since my first precept is be kind I love this embodiment of listening and kindness.

We are surrounded by culturally embedded stories that we have faith in. We may not be aware that these are stories of faith, but they are. Faith is simply trusting and believing in something for which there is no absolute proof. Looked at this way, almost everything is a matter of faith. Almost everything is the stories we choose to believe in.

These days it seems as though the loudest stories that inspire faith are those of fear. Be afraid of people who look different, be afraid of terrorists, be afraid of the police, be afraid of each other. When we are afraid we are more likely to assume the worst about each other, we are more likely to lash out. We are less likely to be kind. Having faith in these stories is understandable considering our news media and the state of the world, but they aren't the only stories.

There are stories of kindness and generosity. When we hear and tell these stories, when we have faith in our own better natures, we might be less likely to flinch when someone unfamiliar enters our world. We might be more likely to respond as if we were a character in a story of hope. We might be more likely to be generous and therefore the other may rise to those expectation instead of sinking to our fears.

I have met Santas, people who were kind for no reason other than our shared humanity, in every circumstance and every day. I have been sheltered by strangers, shared meals with the homeless, listened to by the frantically busy and loved by the unexpected. Every one of these people has been a Santa, offering me kindness, generosity and what I most needed in that moment.  I have been a Santa and hope I will be again.

My belief in the story of human decency is the deepest faith I hold. The stories we have faith in shape who we are, how we behave and how we are received in the world.

When we are kind we are often met with kindness.
When we are generous we are often met with the same.
Even if we are not given back what we have offered, we don't know what effect our actions may have in the long run. We don't know how we might change someone's story of the world, their lives and themselves.

Regardless of the season or your religion, be a Santa. You don't have to be Christian, white, male, large, bearded or dressed in red. Just be kind. Believe your kindness matters. Tell yourself the story of your best self. At worst you might build your faith in yourself as an embodiment of generosity and kindness. At best you may change the world.

(c)2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. That was lovely Laura. Just as I feel these days.

  2. These reflections are very inspiring these days.
    Thank you Laura.

  3. As a professional Santa and a Professional Storyteller, you have written some lovely words.
    Thank you Seeing the mythic/iconic role of Santa first person, from "behind the real beard" has been a truly fascinating experience for me.


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