My nephew, Kent, recently asked his father if he believed in Santa Claus. He said, "I want the truth. So please don't lie to me. Is there really a Santa Claus?" My brother, Stan, said, " I will tell you, in all sincerity, that I believe Santa Claus exists, and I'll explain why. Santa is the embodiment of love and generosity. Yes, he has a list of naughty and nice, but he sees the good in everybody. He knows we all make mistakes, but the truth is he believes in us. Santa Claus wants everyone to be kind to each other and always do their best. I'm sure some people think he isn't real, but I'm not one of them."
When Stan relayed this conversation to me, I was impressed. I told him I thought it was one of the best explanations for this mythical man whose essence lives in all of us. I could never understand the need to tell young people that there really isn't a St. Nick. Is it so they can grow up and stop believing in the magic of this lovely man? Instead, we should encourage them to be more like Santa throughout the year.
I've read incredible stories of miracles surrounding these visits of the man in the red suit. For example, Santa visited an elementary school, and all the children had the chance to sit on his lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. But, when it was time for one young boy to talk to Santa, everyone got very quiet. Then, as the boy explained all the toys he wanted, Santa looked up to see everyone crying, students and teachers alike. The principal explained later that the boy had suffered significant trauma and hadn't spoken a word all year. They were all overcome with emotion to finally hear the boy speak with excitement.
The belief in Santa Claus is universal for a reason. He's genuinely happy to see us, and all he wants to know is what gift we want. He listens patiently and reassures us that our good behavior will be rewarded. Who doesn't want that? I know a few people who had the honor of representing Santa Claus, and they said it was life-changing. They said to see the pure joy on not only the children's faces but their parents, too, is something everyone should experience. Even the occasional accident (being peed on) didn't deter their participation in bringing smiles to these young faces.
I believe we're doing Santa's work when we reach out to each other, whether it's a phone call or a get-together. Whether it's celebrating our wins or consoling each other during a loss, we're giving love unconditionally. When we take the time to sit and listen to each other without judgment, we offer our time and energy. When we smile and compliment a stranger to give them a much-needed lift, we're sharing positivity. This time of year allows us to reflect on what's vital in our lives; our family and friends are happy and healthy.
Santa is real because love and hope are real.