I believe in Santa


Just as I believe in the power of the unknown which propelled me as a child to gaze into my imagination with a sense of awe as I stood between the known and the unknown, I believe in Santa. It is that same belief that tells me that there are things larger than me, and that I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that beyond all commercializing of the true spirit of Christmas, Santa is a great symbol of the spirit of a very real man who lived in the third century.
He was born Nicholas around 280 AD to wealthy Christian parents who died when he was young. Nicholas gave away his inheritance to the poor and became the Bishop of Myra. He continued to help those in need, particularly children, and was soon known as protector of children and sailors. When Nicholas died in 343 AD, the anniversary of his death, December 6, became known as Saint Nicholas Day, a day for celebrating and feasting. Nicholas, who was a “saint” by reason of his faith in Christ, and was titled “St. Nicholas” by reason of the traditional Church’s recognition of his love and good works, was a true believer and a genuine servant to mankind. He became real in spirit and intent, flavored with good and godly ideas of love, giving, caring, and helping. The name Santa Claus evolved from the Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas.
I believe in Santa in whatever generosity of spirit he symbolizes, and I like the idea that the contemporary role of Santa still incorporates the traditional call to personal accountability for good or bad deeds done or undone. I love looking back on the Christmases when I knew he was true, those when I suspected, and even those when I knew Santa was winking, when we both pretended that it was all truly real for the sake of the other children, instead of just real in spirit and intent.
Just as my parents wrapped simple gifts of my childhood and delivered them through a Santa that always made me recite verses or sing for my gifts at New Year’s Eve, I, too, chose to wrap the presents for my children as I imagine they now are doing for their children. And much as I believe in the symbolism of Santa, I know this does not make me Santa. Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. We can only strive to be like him; to bring laughter and playful moments to the world around us that make our imagination run wild with a hope for the impossible. His reality of spirit and intent teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch. What he does is powerful. He inspires faith in the unknown with a capacity to make us believe in things we can’t measure, like love, and “magic,” and hope, faith and happiness. These are the great powers that light our life from the inside out, even during our darkest, coldest moments.
Santa, to me, says something about us. His persistent presence in our holiday traditions and the love that we as a people have for him says that we have not lost the capacity to believe in something more. He is an intangible, fanciful expression of our buried and almost forgotten belief in the goodness of the human person. He is an expression of our longing for something beyond that which we have in front of us… an expression of our desire to believe in things we can’t measure.
The legend of Santa Claus, as we know it, gives me hope for the future. It gives me hope that adults and children alike can see life through bewildered eyes. It gives me hope that one day we will indeed recover our belief in Someone greater than ourselves, Someone who makes life, and Christmas, truly meaningful. Life is miraculous, magical and wonderful, just like Santa, but only those who are willing to believe in the mystery will be able to see the beauty in a world that is also full of war, hunger, hatred and fear. Choose to let it go and the magic will disappear, just as with the belief in Santa. This Christmas and beyond, extend the childhood awe and wonder of the reality of Santa’s spirit and intent. Stand between the boundaries of the known and unknown and choose to see the small miracles that happen around you every day, and the magic will unfold and endure. Yes, I believe in Santa.

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4 Responses to I believe in Santa

  1. Colette says:

    Yes, I believe in Santa too!!!
    Wonderful insight Silva. Enjoyed it very much… Bless your heart.

  2. verkin10 says:

    What a gift, so timely and so precious!
    I believe in the goodness of human spirit ∴ I believe in Santa.

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