In a staff meeting this week a colleague shared his young son’s questions and concerns about the existence of Santa Claus. His son is worried, and beginning to suspect the truth. After he told the story I clumsily explained that I still believe in Santa. Most of us smiled, and we went on with the meeting. Later I received an email from another colleague who shared a letter she had recently read answering similar concerns from a questioning child. It struck me as a message about more than Christmas or Santa, as something that we would all do well to hear and reflect upon in this holiday season.
Here is an excerpt (you can read the full letter here):
“Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.
It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.
Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.
With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.
So no, I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team and now you are, too.”
We do not all celebrate Santa. But whatever your tradition, this is a season of the miraculous. Of lights that burn without enough oil, of a place of rest and quite when there was no room, of the magic and promise of new fallen snow, of peace, generosity and joy.
This is a season of believing, and of participation, in something greater than ourselves.
That is what I wish for you in the coming weeks. A time of joy and love, of light that is greater than any one of us, fills all of us, and makes each of us better.
May these holidays bring you a chance to do the impossible and to believe in yourselves, your friends, your families, and the power of light in the darkness.