Friday, December 24, 2010
For most very young children, theology and religion is way too abstract to really understand. Oh...you go to Sunday school, sit with your parents during services, do all the other stuff that goes along with whatever particular sect you're brought up in....but it's not real....not really. It's just what's expected and, being a kid, you go along. What choice do you have?
But Christmas...now there is some rock solid faith. I may have had an iffy concept of God but I had complete certainty of who Santa was and what he was all about. I didn't need a church to bolster my faith and soothe my doubts. I knew!
Let me tell ya why.
Long, long ago, around Christmas time, my parents dragged us to the Sears & Roebuck department store for a dreary day of shopping. Usually, the one highlight to these annual excursions was a chance to sit on Santa's lap and clue him in on what you wanted Christmas morning. This is important stuff for a kid. If Santa doesn't get your order right you might wind up with nothing but new underwear and a couple of shirts. Still...on one particular day....I was terrified at the thought of facing Santa. You see, I had been recently naughty. I don't remember what it was but it had something to do with something happening in the first grade; so I must have been about six years old or something. All I do remember is the fear that I had blown it for myself for Christmas. I was convinced that as soon as I sat on Santa's lap, he would look into my eyes, tell me what I had done, and call security to have me thrown out of the store.
He keeps a list. He knows if you've been bad or good. I was screwed.
Well...despite my protests....my Dad ordered me to sit on the man's lap or face a whuppin when he got me home. So I did. I walked up to Santa, sat in his lap, dared not look at his face, and blurted out in a soft mumble "I'm sorry Santa. I was bad but I'll be good from now on".
The man dressed in costume patted me on the head and replied "Santa knows you are a good boy". Then he ho-ho-hoed and handed me a candy cane.
The exquisite joy of being forgiven!
Religion often claims to provide that.....Santa delivered.