The Church of Santa



We had a “Santa weekend” here. Saturday morning was tree buying, Saturday afternoon was our wee ones’ visit to a local garden centre and the Father Christmas Grotto. Then Sunday was bringing in the tree and decorating our home.  And late-afternoon a traditional restaurant buffet-meal with (the) one daughter who had helped this year (and two of her little ones – who had been “Santa’s helpers” in that haphazard childlike way).

I have heard all this make-believe is not good for young people.  That pretending this excitement is just because of one fictional character teaches young ones that lies and deceit is how the world works.  That parents shouldn’t make-believe all the presents come from Santa – because parents who can’t afford much place their children in the invidious position of comparing themselves against children whose parent’s go wild with presents.  All that adult-shit we spout with pseudo-wisdom.  Like we really think children are that stupid!

Or because our own lives are such a let-down we prick everybody else’s fun … ?

In the buffet restaurant I sat next to Xander.  He talks to himself.  He waves his hands around and shifts in his chair.  And when he goes to find mummy and negotiate another bowl of (buffet) sweets … he really does dance like no one is watching.

If our own children are anything to go by these little ones will carry that “inner child” and the excitement of Santa (a.k.a. “all that deceit”) into adulthood and beyond.

We noticed that at another table was a father with three children.  The children came and went filling their plates – were having a great time together – seemed familiar with “no conversation dad” – the little eye-contact or interaction – his smartphone was how he did things (and how he looked bored when not).  That seemed to be their normal.

And I guess Santa will go to their house as well – or maybe not.  And I guess they will carry their “inner child” into their own adulthood and beyond – or not.

Who knows?

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.”  And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.”  The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.”  When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.  I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 8:5-11

Church feels obliged to teach God.

Yesterday was Sunday.  We were in church.  A church called a restaurant.  And, just like the building with doors, this restaurant had its own way of doing things.  It wasn’t perfect.  It wasn’t fine dining.  Some of the staff were lovely and others “efficient”.  Some customers picked at plates, others filled them full.  Some went for healthy, others for artery-clogging.  The selection of people was as diverse as the buffet … think Indian food, Chinese food, English food … chips to sushi … pizza to poppadoms … roast lunch to rare tidbits …

That’s my kind of God. That’s my kind of church. That’s my kind of (Santa) magic.

I think Santa and God are a perfect match.  Both are of inner excitement that touches something bigger than I can left to my own smartphone-inertia and pseudo-wisdom.

Both are of love – either conditional or unconditional (depending on the teaching and teachers).  Both require as little or as much as I want to give.  Neither thrive seen through the lens of adult-shit.  Both have a church that is all-inclusive and global.  Neither demand adherence as religions do.  Neither assume permanent naivety.  Both offer inner excitement connecting with something childlike in each of us.

And both start with a clean-slate devoid of all political-correctness or passing bandwagons or scriptural correctness and “smartphone obsession” detachment so many teachers teach.

And THAT’s my kind of God – my kind of Santa.