December 15, 2014

Why I Still Believe In Santa Claus

Growing up, I always knew that Santa Claus was fictional--and let me be clear, that made him no less important, no less real. Being fictional didn't threaten my belief in him, it protected it. Santa Claus has always represented a rare kind of magic, a kind that lingers even as we grow old. It is magic rooted in kindness, in mystery, and in memory.

I grew up in a home FULL of stories. My mom raised us with stories, and we loved them. We read all the Harry Potter series and the Narnia books together. Those stories were real to us, and we shared that as a family. You know the feeling--when you read a story, you are THERE. You experience the emotions and the adventures. It makes a place in your mind that can handle dragons and battles and heroes. Having a lot of practice in that department, it was easy to put Santa right alongside Hagrid and Mr. Tumnus. Actually, one Christmas morning my parents included a gift under the tree signed, "Love, Hagrid." It was the newest Harry Potter book. We didn't bat an eye about having presents from Santa AND Hagrid. It fit. It made sense to us.

Part of being human is learning how to differentiate between fact and fiction. In my experience, fiction is one of the best tools for understanding life. Fiction has always helped me to process the facts more clearly. Albert Einstein even had his two cents on the topic: "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."

I'm grateful to have parents who taught me to believe.

We were (and still are) very chill about Santa at our house. We knew there would be presents from him, but we never left milk and cookies. There was definitely no Elf on the Shelf.  It made perfect sense to us that Santa Claus would make an appearance in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, because they belong in the same world. Santa making a visit to our local mall, however, always made me deeply uncomfortable. That was against the rules.

Because I had this particular version of Santa in my home, there was no Moment Of Clarity, no Devastating Revelation, no Loss of Belief. There was no tragic moment when I finally 'found out' the truth. The truth was all I knew, and I loved it.

At home, we loved stories. And we loved Santa, because his world and our day to day world are complimentary. We read the Christmas Carol and watched the Muppet's Christmas Carol every year. We didn't spend much time talking about Santa or focusing on him. Who was the main man at Christmastime? It was Christ. We spent more time talking about Him and less time about Santa. We celebrated in our own way, as a family--it was a balance that worked.

And now, as an adult, I still read stories, I still get swept up in the magic, and I still believe in Santa.

No comments:

Post a Comment