Christmas Part 6: Santa

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For a child, the debate of whether Kris Kringle is really Santa Claus is not up for discussion. Children have the ability to suspend facts, expand their imaginations, and believe in the improbable. As children we truly feel that bigfoot must have a summer home in the forest behind our house, or that aspiring to be a superhero is a viable career option. However, as we become older, our world demands that we provide evidence for our beliefs or decisions. We must explain our reasoning, give evidence for our opinions, and create and test hypotheses. When we finally become practical, rational adults, our belief in the magical has all but disappeared. We rationalize all decisions, deride cartoons and toys as “child’s play”, and triumph in our need to look and think like grown-ups. If we do decide that we need to suspend some rationality and fall back on beliefs, we often turn to self-help books or websites to teach us again how to believe in ourselves and what we can accomplish. Why can’t we instead never lose that little bit of belief that allows us to see things that shouldn’t be there, or to keep that little bit of magic with us?

Now, I’m not saying we abandon all rational ways of thinking. We should use all the information we can to navigate our way through life. However, in the gruesome melée that is real life, we don’t always have enough information to make all of our decisions for us. The consequences of the decision to be naughty or nice are beyond what any one person can predict. For those times when our knowledge is not enough, when rational thought can only take you so far, then perhaps it’s time put your trust in that which you can only see with your heart. I think it was this editorial that said it best:

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.

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