I have been a believer of Santa before I can remember. Every Christmas, he has been here for me. He has survived all the gifts he has left under my Christmas tree, save one. The gentle, jolly gentleman in red, himself. What can I say? I’ve been in love with the man all my life.
Santa continually gives, even to those unbelievers, in embodying the spirit of the Christmas season. He shows compassion for all. He gives to all. He loves all. Because of Santa, many have given in his name. There are probably more gifts given from Santa every year that he has not left himself, but have been given by those who wish to be anonymous and wish the gift to be joyfully accepted, the recipient to never know the loved one who wanted not to be known.
Santa is a person who invokes hope. I know that over the years, I have continued to believe in Santa because I continue to believe in hope. Children, throughout the year, have the hope that if they are good little boys and girls, Santa will be good to them on Christmas Eve so they will have what they desire on Christmas morning.
A year ago, I remember a facebook conversation with a friend. I was talking about when I was five. We were visiting my grandparents on their ranch in East Texas. It was a family-filled get-together. I loved those Christmases, all together, enjoying the comfort and love of all of my gathered in one place. As I was getting ready for bed, my granddaddy said he was going for his shotgun and wait up to shoot Santa. I don’t know why he thought this would be funny to a little girl, but my mother was a bit upset with him as she tried to comfort me and convince me that my beloved grandfather would NOT shoot Santa Claus nor any of the reindeer. I don’t know how she got me to sleep, but sleep I finally did, only to discover a doll from Santa under the tree–not your typical blue-eyed blonde-haired baby dolls in the 50′s, This is the only one I had ever seen who had brown hair and brown eyes–just like me! It was a wonder to behold. Since it appeared that my mother, who always seemed to know what was in each beautifully wrapped present under the tree was extremely surprised at this one, it truly did come from Santa–or from one of his helpers around the world–this one being my Grandfather.
My friend, Mac said that perhaps Granddaddy knew that Santa’s intentions weren’t all honorable, that Santa was trying to steal little Sue’s heart. I realized that what Mac had said was exactly that–Santa wanted my heart. I told Mac, it was too late, “He did a grand theft of my heart, Mac, it’s still his. His spirit is one of giving, unconditional love and service to his fellow man. This time of year,his example gives people permission to do those small acts of kindness they normally wouldn’t. He will always have my heart because loving him opens my soul to love everyone.”
I have taught my grandchildren about Santa. I speak of my undying love for the cute little man who gives so unselfishly, to all who believe. I also try to teach that Santa is just one example of the love our Savior has for us. He asks nothing but that we believe in Him and in his Father. He asks us to have hope for the future, hope that our prayers for peace and comfort for all will be answered. He asks for our willingness to provide charity to all, not judging, to love our fellow man and do what we can to help all.
Once a year, we have a formal holiday, Christmas, to pause and reflect on what Santa teaches us. It doesn’t matter how the holiday originated. It only matters that we take this time of year to remember the One that Santa emulates and he does so in the image of the Author of Love, our Savior Himself. He allows us to be free in showing kindness and charity to all. He opens our hearts so that we in turn may be loved. When Santa fades back into the rest of the year, we never forget that it is the Savior who has given His all that we may once again return to our Creator, that we just believe.
So once a year, believe with the eyes of a child, of a sweet, precious man, with long white hair and that long white beard, who open our eyes to possibilities. He allows us to have the hope, faith and charity of a child again. I love Santa. I will always love Santa and I will so through life believing. So, for my Christmas present this year, all I want is for you all to BELIEVE! Believe in hope. Believe in the goodness of man. Believe in love.
Why do I still believe in Santa Claus? Because I believe in Jesus Christ. He is a symbol to teach us to love and give as the Savior has us, to carry that forward, not just at Christmas, but always. As Charles Dickens wrote, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” Keep that Christmas feeling in your heart. All year long. How?