Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Santa Claus is Real

When our first child was young, I decided that I did not want to lie to my kids because I want them to trust me, and I don't want them to grow up thinking that its ok to be dishonest.

One thing that I thought I was still lying to my kids about was Santa Claus. I didn't encourage a belief in the Fat Man too much, but I would not say Yes when asked if Santa is real. I would just tell Maria that I don't know for sure.

Saint Nicholas was a bishop in the 4th century. He's become known for secret gift giving. The story that might be the most familiar is about a man with three daughters who could not afford to pay their dowry. Because of this, he would not be able to have them married, and they would probably end up as prostitutes. Nicholas heard about this, and one night he went to the man's home and threw three purses of money in through the window (or possibly the chimney, where they landed in stockings hung by the fire to dry. Partly because of his own humility, and partly to spare the father the embarrassment, Nicholas did this anonymously. This legend is the origin of our modern Santa Claus mythology.

Now, it's not a well kept secret that my family has been struggling for the last couple of years. After Joseph's diagnosis 2 years ago, some pre-existing mental health problems were aggravated, and the short version is that we've been without regular, long-term work since around then.

Once again, this Christmas our children will be receiving gifts that have been donated to various organizations, our church, and even their teachers. I'm not entirely comfortable accepting something so personally, but I know that these people want to help me give my kids the best Christmas they can have because they care about them.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been pondering who we should tell the kids the gifts are from. It occurred to me that these gifts are from Santa Claus. Anonymous gifts to my children from people who want to help them. Sure, it's a little cheesy or sentimental, but Santa Claus isn't a fat man who lives at the North Pole who flies around the world in a flying reindeer propelled sleigh. Santa Claus isn't parents that wrapped some of their kids' gifts in a different paper and put "From Santa" on the tags. Santa Claus is the mystery and wonderment that our kids feel when they come downstair to find wrapped presents that have materialized while they slept. Santa Claus is Gary James and the folks at A4CWSN who are in the middle of giving 40 ipads to 40 families whom theyve never met. Santa Claus is the people who brought my children the Christmas gifts they will be opening on Christmas morning, and the people from the organizations who spent the time collecting the donations, and the people who donated the money, food, clothes and toys that eventually ended up here, even though we were just a paper that said, "Girl 7, Boy 5, Girl 18 months"


  1. Amen! We've had a couple of years when we couldn't afford gifts for our kids, and anonymous donors stepped up to help. "From St. Nicholas" or in the spirit of St. Nicholas sums it up pretty well.

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