Santa Christ



[the very first Christmas column I ever wrote.....]



#19 Tis the Season


Quieta movere magna merces videbatur"

"Just to stir things up seemed great reward in itself." –Sallust


Billy is six years old. His family is comfortably middle class. Billy is excited because Christmas is almost here, and that means Santa Claus is coming. Billy has seen pictures of Santa, but Billy has never personally seen Santa. Billy has heard Santa’s voice in movies and commercials, but Billy has never personally heard Santa. In fact, he would not be sure that Santa existed at all if it were not for one thing: Billy’s parents are the ones that told Billy about Santa. Billy’s parents would never lie to Billy. Every Christmas Eve, Billy’s mom helps Billy write a letter to Santa. Billy usually always gets most of what he asks for from Santa.

The next day, Santa comes through. Christmas day is a bonanza of gifts for Billy to open. Star Wars figures, Leggos, inline skates; even a scooter and once a puppy. Christmas is easily the best day of the year for Billy. Another great day is the day back to school; telling all his friends what he got, and seeing what they got. Billy notices that Juan and Mark never get very much, and Tony never gets anything at all. In the back of his mind, this bothers Billy. Everybody knows that Santa Claus gives gifts to those who are “nice”, and skips those who are “naughty”. Billy has no real reason to think that Juan, Mark, and Tony are bad kids (although one time Mark did hit Billy, but that was in Kindergarden, ages ago), and his friends never getting much vaguely trouble Billy. Nevertheless, Billy is six, and like most six year olds, mostly thinks about himself. Bottom line, Billy gets presents every year, and that is as far as Billy’s thinking goes.

Skip forward five years. Billy is now 11. He heard his friend Chris talking about Santa Claus, and saying some pretty mean things. Billy almost got in a fight with Chris, defending Santa Claus. How could anyone say anything against Santa? However, the thought takes hold in Billy’s mind, and he cannot let it go. Billy says nothing in the days leading up to Christmas, and he is still overjoyed to get many of the things he asked for from Santa. It is not quite as good, though, now that doubt about Santa has crept up. Billy asks him mom and dad about it, and they assure Billy that Santa Claus is as real as he is. This is comforting for a while, but eventually the thought returns. Billy thinks about it increasingly, finally realizing what Chris said must be true. Living at the North Pole, working with “elves”, traveling around the world in one night: Billy feels stupid now, believing what could not possibly be real. The wonder that he felt before is only matched now by the bitterness and disappointment. Worst of all: Billy’s parents lied to him. They had never done that before. Or had they? Billy starts to wonder about everything that his parents had told him. Were there other things they lied about?

Billy is six years old. His family is comfortably middle class. Billy is excited because tomorrow is Sunday, and that means going to church, where Jesus lives. Well, Jesus also lives in Billy’s heart. At least that is how his mom explained it…

Hyperion
December 15, 2000

Billy has a lot of growing up to do...

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