Friday, December 12, 2008

Mama, Do You Believe Santa is REAL?

Of course I do! This time of year has been magical and special to all people everywhere for thousands of years. People all over the world celebrate this magical time, but it looks different everywhere. There are lots of versions Santa Claus -- the idea of him is changing all the time. The name Santa Claus didn't even exist until Grandpa was a little boy! The magic of this time of year has long been impersonated by Father Winter, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, and before that his name was Thor or Odin or Saturn, back when people celebrated the return of the Sun. People call this special time Solstice, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Saint Lucia Day, Omisoka, Eid, Fiesta of our Lady of Guadalupe, and lots more, just depending on where you live in the world. There's something very special about this time of year and it doesn't matter what you call it, or what it looks like, what matters is that you believe in it. It's your believing that makes it real.
"But is there really a Santa Claus?"
You know how some people believe that God looks like a person and lives in a place called Heaven and controls everything on the earth? You know how they believe that if you're good then God will reward you, and if you're not then God will punish you? Well, that's how some people believe about Santa too -- that he's a sort of person who lives at the North Pole and controls Christmas. They believe that he only brings gifts to children he approves of, and children who write him letters and all that.
And you know how mummy believes that God is inside all of us? That everything is sacred, and we are all perfect and loveable and the Great Mother takes care of us because we take care of her -- how every living thing is the Great Mother and how we all have to take care of each other in order for the magic of life to continue? Well, that's what mummy believes about Santa too. I believe there are lots of words for Santa: kindness, love, thoughtfulness, peace, joy, even God and Goddess. I believe that Santa is inside all of us, and that we all have to find ways to take care of each other and make each other feel special, and help each others' dreams come true in order for the magic of Christmas to continue.
"Zara said it's just mums and dads that do presents and it's not magic at all."
Then that's what's real for Zara. In order for ANYTHING to be real, you have to believe in it. Nobody's right and nobody's wrong for what they believe in. The only way to make things real is by believing in them. Remember the Velveteen Rabbit? And nobody can make what you believe in not real. It's maybe not real for them, but that can't make it not real for you, unless you decide to stop believing. I don't believe in the idea of the God that lots of people believe in, but that doesn't make it not real for them. And they don't believe in the Great Mother idea that I believe in, but that will never make it not real for me. So you get to decide what YOU believe in, sweet girl, and then it doesn't matter who agrees or disagrees with you. And besides, mums and dads ARE Santa, just like sisters and brothers and grandmas and grandpas and friends and neighbours and cousins and ... We're ALL Santa, sweet girl, and we're ALL magic. Remember how your friends saw how much you liked a bow and arrow and so they secretly got busy and made you a very special one of your very own? That's the magic of Christmas.
"But that wasn't Christmas, mumma."
No, that didn't happen in December, but that was still what this is all about. Just like you have a birthday on a certain day, but that doesn't mean you're not special the rest of the year too. Your birthday is just a certain day that we set aside to really focus on you and make sure you feel extra special, and to celebrate the beginning of you. Christmas time, or Solstice, or whatever you want to call it is the same -- the spirit of it exists all year long, it's just that lots of people agree that this is the time of year when we will celebrate its very existence in an extra special way.
"So do you believe in a Santa? Do you believe Santa's an elf? "
Do I believe in a man who comes down your chimney and gives you presents? No, I don't. But do I believe there's extra magic on Christmas Eve and that that extra magic is everywhere, including coming down the chimney and in your stockings and everywhere? Absolutely! With so many people around the world believing and putting out stockings or shoes or baskets or whatever they do, we make that magic extra real on that night. I like setting out our stockings and putting out food for the reindeer and a cookie for Santa. I love singing songs at this time of year that lots of people know. I love reading fun stories and having this time of year be extra special. I believe in it because it's fun and because I want to. And because I absolutely believe in magic with all my heart.

"So why don't some people believe in magic or Santa or fairies?"
Honey, I don't know why people believe what they believe. And I sure don't want to tell you what to believe. I want you to discover the magic of your own beliefs and feelings and wonderments. We can only know what's real for us -- like me believing that the cedar trees tell me if they don't want me cutting their branches -- that's as real as real can be for me. Just yesterday I asked one big tree and I knew in my heart that she didn't want me cutting her branches. I don't know if it's because she's had too many cut by other people this year, or what. It doesn't matter. I don't have to understand it. And probably most people would tell me that they don't believe in that -- that trees can't communicate with us, but that doesn't mean what I believe isn't real. There are lots and lots of things that we will never understand in this world. That's what I call magic. You know how you feel when the snowflakes are falling and the sound and feel and smell that makes you tingle all over? Nobody can ever completely understand what that is about. But that doesn't mean it's not real. And I'll tell you one thing, people might think they don't believe in magic or Santa or fairies, but they probably just call those things some other name. There aren't very many people in this world who don't believe in the unexplainable beauty of birth and love and how it makes them feel when someone's extra kind to them. They just might not have the same words as we do. And that's okay. Nobody's right and nobody's wrong when it comes to their beliefs in magic.
This is just exactly why I gave you that necklace for your birthday, to remind you that YOU are magic. We all are, of course, but you inspire me every day in the magical ways of kindness and thoughtfulness and love. If someone wanted to believe that one person was Santa, they could sure believe it's you. I'm always amazed at how thoughtful you are, how you're always thinking of ways to make people feel special. I love how you want to make things for people, watching them carefully, thinking extra deeply about them, discovering what it is that would bring them extra joy... I believe in santa magic, my love, because I believe in YOU.