Santa – Real or Imaginary?

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This outstanding article was posted on Patheos.com. In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the link:

How Do We Know That Santa Is Imaginary?

 

The Santa Story

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It seems appropriate at this time of year to write a post about “Santa.” You know who I’m talking about, right? That grandfatherly-looking fellow with a white beard who lives somewhere up around the North Pole? The one who possesses magical powers, helpful elves, and the remarkable ability to discern who’s naughty or nice? The jolly old fellow that children turn to in hopes of getting things they want?

Yes! That’s the one. You know who I mean.

Lately, I’ve been wondering. Has anyone ever noticed the similarities between Santa and that other popular fellow whose name begins with a “G”?

You have?? Must be just a coincidence since we all know Santa is a made-up character. Right?

Right.

Yet when you think about it, there are some interesting likenesses.

  • No one has ever seen Santa (the real one, not the holiday impersonators)
  • It’s acceptable to ask Santa for things we want.
  • Santa has ways of knowing when we’ve been “naughty or nice.”
  • Santa lives somewhere “up there.”
  • Santa has promised he will visit everyone on a predestined day.

But hey, these are just chance resemblances. It couldn’t possibly be otherwise. Could it?

Retailers Love Holiday Giving

Once again the media is promoting “giving” for the holidays. Everywhere you turn, there are collection boxes for food, toys, clothes, blankets, etc. for the needy.

While I totally support helping the less fortunate, every year I wonder why it becomes such a ‘big deal’ during the holidays. In today’s economic times, there are hundreds of people who need help year-round. Yet it is only towards the end of each year that the focus becomes laser sharp. Could it be just one more marketing ploy by retailers? 

I also feel a certain amount of distaste for the “Toys for Tots” type campaigns. Why is it so important that every child has a gift under the tree? Yes, I know all about tradition, but that’s the problem. Kids today have learned to expect a “visit from Santa Claus.” And the retailers love it!

There is no denying that we should all feel a certain responsibility for helping others who are destitute and/or impoverished. But when it’s promoted and pushed by local stores through newspaper ads and TV, one can’t help but wonder exactly where charity ends and greed begins.