Yesterdays’ newspaper, read over a bowl of porridge, contained two articles about Santa Claus.
The first was a very tongue-in-cheek thing. Apparently Santa Claus is not in good health and some of it is our fault and some of it is his. We are responsible for the weight problem by leaving out mince pies for Santa to eat as he stuffs our presents under the tree. He would, apparently, be better off eating Rudolph’s carrots and giving the mince pies to the reindeer.
His part of the health problems comes with the stress of delivering presents to everyone all over the world in one night. Maybe we could help by asking for fewer presents, or none at all.
The reindeer came in for some of the blame. Who was to know how many ticks and fleas they carried, some of which could skip from hide to beard and cause distress. Of course, if he didn’t have the reindeer at all, Santa could do a lot more running from house to house and climbing on to roofs to get to chimneys. He would be that more fitter, that more streamlined.
All of this was said by a dose of doctors who ought not to have that much time on their hands for such frivolity.
The second article was written by an atheist who felt the need to justify celebrating Christmas without the Jesus content of it. She talked of church attendance when she was young and going through all the rituals of growing up, but always feeling that it was done for her parents rather than herself. She felt that everything about Jesus didn’t make sense. Christmas for her was all about family and present giving, for trees and tinsel and something good to break up the winter darkness.
She ended her article with the sentiment that it would be nice to go outside and look up. I thought she was going to say something about looking out for a really bright star – that somewhere still deep inside was a longing for the Jesus part of Christmas to be true. Not at all – she would be looking for a glimpse of Santa’s sleigh.
Something in me mourned the apparent loss of Jesus in the Christmas celebrations. What Satan couldn’t do by sending Herod into Bethlehem to slaughter the babies, he has found a neater way by replacing Jesus with Santa – so much more appealing. Santa with his nice and naughty list doesn’t make a permanent change in anyone’s life.
I confess that I have never been a fan of Santa. I see beyond the “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to a very unfair gift giver! It still rankles that good behaviour really doesn’t have a say in what goodies he leaves. It is all about how what parents can afford. I grew up in a one parent household with six children. She wasn’t irresponsible to have such a large clutch – just a good Roman Catholic and with a husband that would have looked after us all well had he not died young. It really didn’t matter how good I behaved, I was never going to get a bike. Other children grew up with both parents and the 2.4 average children. Bikes were no problem.
So, yes, Santa and I have never been on good terms. Had my family been born a little later into the pay-day loan era, who knows what kind of debt my mum might have got into to provide the bike simply to keep up with the neighbours. My Santa grudge goes deep! He is not harmless fun, not in my book.
“Santa will never topple Jesus from His throne,” said God as we sat reading poetry together over a cup of tea. “People might look at the tinsel and the trees and feel they have something to celebrate but all too soon the Easter eggs will be out in the shops. Christmas will be done and dusted and everything put away. Jesus – you can’t put Him away and move on. He insists that He walk with you through every day of the coming year.”