There are a line of employees waiting to get into my Wilmington, DE publishing office with the latest problems, questions, or suggestions just before Christmas. Jeff, a recent hire fresh out of Temple University is bursting with something to say. “Hold that thought” I say, as I pick up the phone ringing by my desk.
It is the Director of KinderCare on the phone – “You have to do something, Margaret! Your son is telling all the children that Santa Claus is a fake! He is claiming there is a different Santa at the Mall from the one on Main Street.”
Jeff is waiting patiently, listening – “Well, yes, Patrick is very observant. No, I didn’t tell him there was no Santa. No, I didn’t tell him to tell all the other kids. I can’t help it if Sally is crying. Do you want me to come take him home?”
What is a Mother to Do When Her Child Wrecks the Magic of Christmas?
What is a mother to do? There is so much to do at work before the end of the year, but I need to be with my son, and avoid the situation escalating. So, I tipped the parking lot attendant to drag my car out from behind ten others that are in the way. Why, now? Why can’t he just believe? And why does he have to have such a big mouth? Oh, Patrick! I wish we could get at least one more Christmas with you believing in the magic of Santa. As I drive to Pike Creek Valley, I …
Reflect on his prior Christmases –
The first was in 1970 when Patrick was three months old – but still I wanted a photo of him with the jolly St. Nick. I let him grab the candy cane in his tiny fist, which more experienced and proper mothers said was a bad idea. He loved it! The stick mess was all over his hands and face before we got home.
The next year my son really looked wide-eyed at the lights on the tree and fervently ripped all the paper from the presents, but was still too young to anticipate the event.
So, the Christmas of 1972 was a big year. He told Santa he wanted a two-wheeler. What about a tricycle? No, I already have a Big Wheel. I want a two-wheel bicycle!
His Dad and I were up all night putting together the smallest two-wheeler we could find, with training wheels. About 5:00 am we ran out of cigarettes. As the dawn was breaking, I made a run to 7-11 while Dad finished up the bike. It was ready to go with a big red ribbon under the tree, when well rested and full of anticipation, Patrick woke up ready to go. Wow!
We parents would have to get by on adrenaline until nap time. Hide the candy canes! It was wonderful. And we looked forward to it again this year.
I wonder as I drive along, Is the magic of Christmas lost now that he no longer believes? I’m sure there will be some angry parents, to say the least.
Patrick defends himself as we drive home:
“I am telling you, Mom. I saw at least three different Santa’s! It’s just an old man dressed up pretending!
Maybe Santa just gets around a bit?
No, they didn’t even look that much alike. The whole thing is a hoax, a fake!”
But it does not seem to deter his enthusiasm as he talks about the lights on the tree, what surprises might be in his stocking on Christmas morning, and asks what’s for supper tonight.
One of the Magical Things about Christmas
One of the magical things about Christmas, is that the magic never really ends. There was a real Santa Claus, Patrick. His name was St. Nicholas and according to an article by Jon Davis
“St. Nicholas was a Christian monk who worshiped Jesus. They both practiced and taught the importance of charity and forgiveness. He believed in Jesus and fought vehemently for the early Christian church to better understand him, even though today he is one of the most misunderstood characters in all of history.”
As I read the article referenced above, I hear the words of Jon Bon Jovi:
Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Claus. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don’t, who will?”
But, maybe the simplest way to think about the true meaning of Christmas is to listen to Linus in this short video.
Reflection on the Magic of Christmas
During the time when Patrick opened his big mouth about Santa, I was a skeptic, a Catholic who became lost somewhere in the Ecumenical Council of the 1960’s. So, I questioned everything I had ever been taught about Christ, the meaning of Christmas and all religion for that matter. Jeff, who I had abandoned in my office that day, was Jewish. We were both raised to know the Word of God. But knowing and believing are two different things.
Thank God that when we doubt, or even when we get lost in unbelief, He remains faithful. “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)
May you share the love of family and friends and believe the true magic of Christmas!