From guest blogger
Rev. Lisa Bansavage—
AS I WAS CHEERILY putting up my Christmas decorations this week, a memory from a few years back came flooding through me.
We were visiting one of my husband’s cousins who had three young children. We noticed at one point in the holiday celebration that the youngest child suddenly seemed quite sad. “What’s wrong, Katie?” we asked.
She looked at us imploringly. “I just don’t understand why Santa doesn’t take care of all the poor children. Why does he bring me so much, when they have so little?”
We were fairly floored. None of the grownups knew how to explain how our revered Season of Giving co-exists with the horrific poverty affecting billions sharing the planet — a discrepancy that she, a mere child of six, saw so clearly. No one could really answer her. And in trying to take the heat off Santa, we would only deprive her of what was still a cherished belief in a wondrous world of myth and mystery.
Katie’s challenging question comes into my mind every year at the holidays. Perhaps it is time to revise the classic 1897 “Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus” editorial for our day.*
It might go like this:
* * * * *
“Dear Reverend Lisa,
“I am 6 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, ‘If you see it in the Colonia Corner, it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?”
Katie, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age.
They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can exist which is not comprehensible by their little minds.
Yes, Katie, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and kindness and devotion exist — and you know from your own family that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.
Of course, the Santa Claus you see on television, or at the mall, is not the real Santa Claus.
The real Santa Claus is inside you, and he was in you and me and everyone who ever lived from the moment we entered this world.
We begin to look for him in other people, other things.
We look for him in toys, clothes, games, all the delightful things money can buy … until when we become adults, we often don’t see Santa at all.
We only see the things. And things, Katie, do not give love or kindness or devotion.
Fortunately, you are still young. You can see the Santa Claus living (sometimes hiding!) in all of us. You and other children can help us grownups see him, too.
Just think, Katie: if every grownup could act like Santa with every person they met every single day — we would soon have a world where little girls like you don’t ever have to feel sad about other children.
Because all the love, kindness and devotion that is the True Spirit of Christmas would spread like a calm, comforting blanket across every corner of the globe and transform this hard, bitter world of rich and poor into a world of beauty and joy shared by us all.
And surely make a few yourself.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
* * * * *
— Lisa Bansavage is an ordained Interfaith Minister and Wedding Officiant
in Woodbridge, NJ. See her website at www.revbansavage.com
* “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”. Written by Francis P. Church
of the New York Sun, first published Sept. 21, 1897.