Why are we so intent on making children believe in Santa Claus? What would Christmas lose if parents told the truth? Why do we want so badly for children to have a surreal magical trance-like experience of Christmas through the wonder of Santa Claus? Do you remember or have you heard of the editorial, “Yes, Virginia. There Is A Santa Claus? An 8-year old girl asked her father if there really was a Santa Claus. He told her to write to the newspaper because if they printed it, it was true. From Wikipedia:
“Is There a Santa Claus?” was the headline that appeared over an editorial in the September 20, 1897 edition of the New York Sun. The editorial, which included the response of “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”, has become an indelible part of popular Christmas lore in the United States.
Go here to read Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to the New York Sun and the response by Francis Pharcellus Church, one of the paper’s editors.
Kids ask parents if there really is a Santa Claus and parents stammer and stutter for what reason? To not have to admit 5-years of lies? Whose loss is bigger for knowing the truth, the parent or child? Even for adults, the Santa story has come to symbolize good will and the Christmas spirit. I have nothing against Santa, but what does it say about our society that we crave magic and wonder and the supernatural? What are we looking for? Did we miss it?
If you do not believe in celebrating or even commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, why bother with Christmas? We can give gifts any time of year, really. What’s the story of Christmas if there is nothing to commemorate? We made up(or embellished) a story and an icon which gives us an excuse to be kind, generous, loving. Why do we need a reason? What’s the point in being kind, generous and loving? Where does that drive for us to do good things come from?
Could there be someone greater than ourselves who created us with a built-in desire for friendship, brotherhood, and community and dare I say, a homing device that draws our hearts to him? What would our world look like if we actually pursued good will and the Christmas spirit for no other reason than out of gratitude to our creator who gives us everything? Ah, but then we would need to believe in this person? Seems we need to believe in something one way or the other.
I know, I know, lots of questions. Tell me, what do you think?