Monday, December 16, 2013

Santa Claus is Real

“Mom, just so ya know, I know there’s no Santa. I know it’s you.”

The combination of my tone and my age must have indicated that there was no use denying it, but as the confession left her lips I began to cry.

“So Santa’s not real?”

“Honey, Santa Claus IS real. It’s just not who you thought it was.”

Santa Claus is real.

My mom’s response allowed me to continue believing in Santa all the way through college. He visited our house until the year I got married, and every year at Christmas time, I still reflect on the words that have kept Santa alive for me for so many years after I stopped seeing him as the jolly man in the red suit. 

In my adulthood, those words now help me understand Santa on a different level. Santa is often labeled as a representation of selfishness, a distraction from the true meaning of Christmas. If you ask me, the problem isn’t Santa. It’s the way commercialism has misconstrued his meaning by overlooking his giving nature and focusing only on the receiving end of his goodness.

When given the right focus, Santa can add to the meaning of Christmas. After all, Santa IS the spirit of giving; he IS the embodiment of generosity; and he continues to exist in the hearts of all who open their hearts and homes and wallets during this magical season. That’s why it doesn’t bother me that Reese is so excited about Santa while so many Christian parents work to take the focus off of him. Sure, she's excited to get presents. She's three. But she also knows that Santa gives presents because he wants to make kids happy and that we can create that same happiness by sharing our blessings with others.

How cool for a kid to discover that not only is there really a Santa, but that they, too, can become Santa with their own generosity! With every thoughtful gift we present to our family and friends, every donation to a Toys for Tots collection bin, every dollar dropped in a Salvation Army bucket, and every canned food item given to a charity drive, we become Santa Claus as we create smiles on the hearts and faces of those around us.

Someday when my kids ask me if there really is a Santa Claus, I won’t be lying when I say yes. And when they tell me that they know the truth, I can tell them who Santa really is and give them the power to keep him alive by embracing the joy of giving with an open heart.

This Christmas, don't turn away from Santa. Become him. Give joyfully, love generously, create happiness, and never stop believing that Santa Claus is real.

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