Believing in Santa Claus

Crossposted from Big O.

Believe it or not, this is not yet another slam of DarkSyde’s rant. In fact, I’m going to do a little defending of his position here, even though I believe, quite firmly, that there is far more to the universe than these mere globs of animate biomatter we inhabit. However, it’s clear that DarkSyde’s real problems come not from people who ‘believe in Santa Claus,’ which represents something ‘whacky, if perhaps relatively pleasant on the surface’. Sure, he’s dismissive of the idea, but aside from the agnostics (and even them only to a point), which of us doesn’t believe we have a decent handle on our faith/beliefs/reason? I mean, if we didn’t actually think we were right, we wouldn’t believe what we believe. QED.

No, his real problems are with people like this:

They don’t just limit it at that even, they insist everyone kiss their ass about their Santa belief every damn day of their lives and if you don’t humor them at the drop of hat under any circumstances, you’re being disrespectful, you’re out of line. No matter how much you humor them, they always demand more.

Reminds me of Abraham Lincoln’s comment about how defenders of slavery were just before the Civil War. A few more:

…campaign speeches all end with “Be good or Santa won’t come to visit”.

Imagine that large sections of the country, the majority in fact, reject modern geography and want to teach that Santa lives at the North Pole in a giant Dickinsian factory manned by elves as part of that curricula.

…your kids better not repeat any Santa skepticism, or they’ll be teased horribly at the very least and might get the shit beat out of them by other kids from time to time.

The ruling party is supported by a large block of truly radical Santa believers who want to run the entire country like they believe the North Pole facility operates, including sweatshops with kids all busy working away seven days a week 365 days a year in long assembly lines, with hand tools, in the freezing cold arctic winter, all for benefit of a few old men with long white beards who live in complete splendor on that labor. Because that’s how Santa wants it, see?

The nation slides slowly towards Santacracy year by year.

…they stalk off screaming things like “OH I get it! You HATE Santa Claus and you HATE Christmas and you HATE getting presents, and you’re trying to get even by pretending you don’t believe in Him.”

Hell, that last one might have been taken verbatim from an O’Falafel rant. 😉

It’s a funny thing. Neo-pagans and atheists are about as diametrically opposed, cosmologically speaking, as is possible, but we’re natural allies politically because the dominant radical Santacrats want to destroy us both. To them, it doesn’t matter whether we believe the Easter Bunny and the Great Pumpkin are equally valid Holiday Avatars or for thinking they’re all equally invalid. We both upset their one-true-wayism, creating those nasty little doubts they’ve demonized.

Certainly, neither paganism (Rome, feeding Christians to the lions) nor atheism (Stalinist Russia, ’nuff said) has a history as pure as the driven snow. But you know what? Neither pagans nor atheists are within striking distance of overthrowing freedom in our country. (There are fundie Hindus with serious power in India and tyrannical atheists running China, but neither group is our immediate problem.) So I really, truly understand where he’s coming from here. I wish I could wear my pentacle ring to work, for example, but I don’t because I work with a lot of devout Christians. They’re mostly cool, but I really don’t have the emotional energy to deal with more attempts to ‘save’ me and my continued employment is shaky enough as it is.

So what’s my point? After all, the title of this diary is “believing in Santa Claus,” so it’s obviously not solely being written to defend DarkSyde, right?

Right. You see, I do believe in Santa Claus. Now, I don’t actually believe in a physically incarnate guy with a red suit (invented by Coca-Cola) and a long white beard any more than I believe that YHVH is a physically incarnate Charlton Heston clone with a long white beard sitting on an actual throne. And you know what? People who do believe in either beyond a shadow of a doubt worry me too.

What I do believe is that as the season turns, as we pass Samhain and move toward the Yule festival season, something changes in the air. In spite of our society’s every effort to drain Yule of its goodwill and charity through a combination of commercialism and shrill, unstable ranting about the ‘secular assault on Christmas,’ somehow something wonderful and intangible remains. People as a whole get more patient and cheerful.

Sure, there are incidents where two mothers turn into WWE combatants over the last ninja turtle or what have you, but take it from a guy who worked at a Toys R Us one Yule season, it doesn’t happen that often. For children, cool toys are great, but it’s the parent who gets the real reward (my memories of my son’s smiles have far outlasted many Yule gifts). In spite of the world’s O’Falafels, it is increasingly becoming a time to embrace what makes us the same instead of what makes us different…our love, our charity, our basic goodness. That is Santa Claus — not a jolly old elf built like a sumo wrestler with a heart just as big (though more power to him if he’s out there ;-), but the spirit of peace and giving that really puts presents under trees and in our hearts. And you don’t even need to ‘believe in Santa’ to embrace that spirit.

The thing is, you either feel that spirit or you don’t. It doesn’t make you a bad person if you don’t, it just means your perceptions are different. And if you do feel it, you can’t explain it to someone who doesn’t any more than you can describe a rainbow to a blind man.

So you know what? I’m a big ol’ pre-teen, age 36, who still believes in He Who Is Santa, Kris, Nick, Grandpa Yule, etc. etc. Of course, I’m a UU Santaist, but I guess that’s part of my liberal style of faith. 🙂

(/) Roland X
Great Pumpkin-ite, but still respects Santaists 😉

Poll


Santa?

• Literalist. He’s REAL, man! 16%
• Spirit. You’re right, X. 75%
• HAHAHAHAHA! Dude, you’re funny. 8%
• Other. 0%

Votes: 12

5 comments

Well… (none / 0)

I believe in Santa Claus. And Superman.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in our day of battle; protect us against the deceit and wickedness of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray.

by Diamondrock on Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 04:09:08 PDT

Here is what I believe about Santa… (none / 0)

….most of you know this,but I thought I would post it as an easy way to give my side and because this sums up where I stand perfectly.

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor–

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, 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 be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

  I also use this for those who say there is no God because we cannot experience him with our senses or instruments.

 That some exxpect you to kiss their butt and profess in a fasith in Sants(or God,Allah,Shiva,the tooth fairy) does not make the above any less true.

  My faith(not religion) does not require that I dismiss the evidence of science and or obvious facts,it does allow me to push back and get a look at the unknowable.

by tabbycat1138 on Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 09:38:17 PDT

Reminds me of another one 🙂 (none / 1)

(I got this in email a few years back, don’t remember the source, but I love the story!)

Santa Claus: The True Story

I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even dummies know that!”

My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns. Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me.

“No Santa Claus!” she snorted. “Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”

“Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second cinnamon bun.

“Where” turned out to be Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. ‘Take this money and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.

I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s second grade class.

Bobbie Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn’t have a cough, and he didn’t have a coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

“Is this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

“Yes,” I replied shyly. “It’s … for Bobbie.”

The nice lady smiled at me. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, “To Bobbie, From Santa Claus” on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa’s helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.”

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie.

Forty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

Merry Christmas

by Morgan on Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 10:25:18 PDT

ok…. (none / 0)

…I hope you are happy.That post got me all misty eyed.

by tabbycat1138 on Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 18:21:12 PDT

Some religions allow you (none / 0)

more latitude in dealing with the beliefs of others.  I specifically CHOSE WIcca because it does recognize that “all Paths are One; all Gods are One” becasue I simply could not conceive a loving God who owuld punish you for getting his/Her/Its/Their name wrong in prayers–or even if you beleived in them at all.   I alsof igure atheism is a VERY valid PAth becasue it teaches us to be decent withotuhope of reward or fear of punishemnt–and is probably some thing we must ALL learn in one life or antoher.  

The main thing is beign aware that while you may believe in Santa or the X Men (if they are real I have dibs on WOlverine and Magneto), you cannot prove the truth of your beliefs in any scientific or logical manner-and that admitting that doesn’t make your faith lesss trong, but isntead, more honest andmroe tolerant.

I, of course, am a devout WIccan PAstafarianw ith ROman Catholci subtext.

And tonight we plan to worship the Feritlity Aspect of Deity by eating lasagna (don’t tell my mother -in-law because she might not want to partake of the nmeal if she realizes it has WIccan overtoens).

As for iamge of Gos, eyars ago, there was a wonderful book  with great Illos inw hcih God is depcited looking a lot liek Ernest Hemingway in a HAwaiian Shirt and flipflops and astraw aht and shorts.  It also included the phrase “halitosos of the soul” which I think is afflicting PAt RObertson.

by irishwitch on Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 12:52:35 PDT

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