A Bonus Santa (kinda long)

Posted: December 9, 2010 in Christian, Christmas, holiday, Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus

Before I start waxing philosophically (or otherwise) about the bonus Santa that I have dredged up from what passes for my mind, there are a few things I should probably tell you.

First, I know Christmas is not about Santa, strings of colored lights, parades, Christmas tree shaped cookies, endless retellings of Ebeneezer Scrooge‘s journey of redemption on stage/screen/CD/DVD, or the 45th time Charlie Brown and company have tried to figure out what to do about that pitiful little tree (though the do “get it” when we sometimes don’t). But in one way or another, it all comes from the same place.

Christmas is about Jesus. Plain and simple. The Son of God. Born to a virgin in the lowliest of places. A baby who came to this place to give us an alternative to eternal death. A baby who was sent by God to show us how to truly love, serve and live. A baby who ultimately in the prime of his life gave his life for me. And for you. And in the process, that little baby offered salvation to every person who accepts it.

So I get it. It’s not Santa. Or the other stuff.

But it all comes from that manger. The gifts (wise men … remember them), Santa (Saint Nicholas, the historically real gift bringer), the Christmas tree (Martin Luther established it as a symbol for the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden … though modern lights are infinitely safer than the candles he used), and even the parades, the parties, the pageants, the cantatas, and all the rest.

OK, Black Friday and the Christmas sales are just a way to get us to buy more gifts.

But all of it, even when we overdo it, is a celebration of the birth of Christ. And the Santa portion of it, while not 100% religious, is also a very real reminder of what we can do to to put a physical form around the concepts of love, giving, and caring for others (again, remember Saint Nicholas??).

So, now on to the bonus Santa.

When I was a child I didn’t know we were poor. I just knew we didn’t have a lot of things, though we had a lot of the things that matter. And in those days my dad was a minister (still is) serving little country churches and in those days we had a Christmas pageant (the baby Jesus born to a 9 year old Mary and a 10 year old Joseph complete with brown cotton ball beard) followed by a visit from Santa. And in those days Santa brought each child a small paper bag with an orange, some walnuts, pecans, an apple, a little penny candy, a  5¢ cap pistol and caps for the boys and a little Kewpie doll for the girls.

I remember that Santa in particular, not because of the stuff (though it was all appreciated, even back then), nor because Santa was a little scraggly looking those particular years. I remember that Santa because of the sacrifice and love that went into those bags. There were a lot of kids, not a lot of money, and there were a lot of adults that picked up pecans and walnuts from their own trees, wen in together to buy oranges, and store owners who donated little 5 ¢ gifts to still another church wanting to do something for the kids.

It is only since I have been grown (or as close to it as I am likely to get) that I have come to treasure the memory of the “bonus Santa” all those years ago.

And yes, we will get back on the writing/Christian Horror track in January. But until then, we’ll look at a few more Christmas characters.

Oh yeah … as of right now there are 15 days 23  hours 11 minutes until Christmas.

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