Thursday, December 27, 2012
Santa and Faith
I picked on an otherwise nice book about Santa Claus because it hinted at but failed to deliver on the true meaning of Christmas - which is the coming of Jesus into the world to bring salvation for us all.
To be fair, when wearing the red suit is it not appropriate in the vast majority of circumstances to display openly that faith dimension. But that doesn't mean it can't be there present within the wearer of the suit.
When I work at the mall, I always say a prayer before I go out. I pray that I might have patience and wisdom, and even endurance (try sitting for six hours in a hard chair while wearing padding, a suit, and hat even when the temperature around the throne is quite warm!) Sometimes I recite a poem I wrote a few years back:
A Mall Santa's Prayer
As I hold each precious child
let me treat each one
with the love and care I'd show
Your most holy Son.
When visiting with the children - and some adults - I will sometimes mentally pray for them. I rarely mention faith in any way out loud. But there are times when someone will ask for deeply personal things - that someone will be cured, or will come back safely home from a war situation, that dad and mom will reunite, and so on. I usually say something along that lines of "I feel sad. That's something beyond the power of Santa. But I will pray for you." So far, no complaints.
There are circumstances when I can be more open, such as at church events or parties run by groups like the Knights of Columbus. There I openly bring up the birth of Jesus. I'll often lead the kids in singing "Happy Birthday" for baby Jesus.
Again, it depends on the circumstances how open I am about faith. But the true spiritual meaning of Christmas is always present in my heart and mind. And if I ever wrote a book about being Santa, you can be sure there'd be mention of Jesus and that first Christmas.
Pax et bonum