Believe in Things You Can't Measure or Even Hold in Your Hand Posted on 23 Dec 16:06


Life is filled with mysteries. For me, whether or not to tell my kids there is a Santa Claus is not one of them. Recently, my sister-in-law “became conscious that a steady torrent of obscenities and swearing of all kinds [that is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan] was pouring out of her” when she found out her husband answered their innocent eight-year-old daughter’s question, “Is Santa Claus real?” in the negative. She backpedaled and explained that daddy was mistaken, but it was too late: doubt quivered around in the back of her daughter’s toe head. My typically soothing brother-in-law couldn’t figure out what the big deal was. I told him that you rob a child of the chance to believe when you tell them there is no Santa Claus. He rolled his eyes.

We’ve all read the letter from Lucy’s astute and discerning momma, haven’t we? It fluttered around the internet on angel’s wings a few years ago and gave words to what believers have long felt in their hearts. “What [Santa] does is simple,but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch. It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. “ There it is in small unassuming print: we need to learn at an early age how to believe. Santa is not the only teacher of conviction—but he’s a pretty fantastic one.

For the naysayers who opine that Santa isn’t real, I say google Saint Nicholas. He was born in Asia Minor in 280 AD—a Christian priest who had great means and traveled the country for the express purpose of giving to people, tirelessly. (It’s no surprise he was made a patron Saint.) I doubt he was portly, but he was bearded. When he learned of a poor man who had no money to give to his three daughters that were to wed, he dropped bags of gold in their stockings left by the fire to dry; he did it in secret because he believed in the power of giving anonymously. Who is this bearded guy? And how do I get him on speed dial? Sounds like the Santa Claus I grew up believing in. Sounds just like him.

Is Saint Nicholas (or the Dutch translation Sinter Klass) alive today? He is—in you and me if we choose to believe in the power of giving and to graciously act on it. It doesn’t require a red suit or soot on my face (and Lord knows I’m out if it requires a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly). But I can be aware, acutely aware of need and give freely and constantly. I believe I can be Santa Claus in my own little corner of the world. I believe...

Let me close with this little wish: Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!