As we dip our feet into the holiday season (and I refuse to put up a Christmas tree until after paying homage to the turkey), I recall last year’s season figure discussion.

My son asked me to tell him more about Santa Claus.  I was an odd, cynical child and chose never to believe in Santa Claus.  It seemed so illogical.  Even as a two year old, I remember a conversation with my mother where I was trying to convince her that she didn’t need to believe because it just didn’t make sense.  She tried very hard to convince me otherwise because she didn’t want angry parents from church calling her to tell her that I had been trying to convince their children.

Since my son is very much like me, I decided that it was futile to convince him of the traditional folklore of Santa.  I took a different approach and told him about the real man about whom the folklore is based.  I told him that “Nicholas” was an orphan of wealthy parents who chose to live a humble life as a priest.  I told him that the young priest began his mornings very early in prayer and godly service.  I told him that Nicholas snuck into the home of a poor family and left enough gold coins for a daughter’s dowry, but he intended that no one would see him leaving an expensive gift in the middle of the night because he wanted the community to respect him for his humility and service to God instead of his wealth.  In his old age, Nicholas made a point to give gifts to children.

My son asked, “Does he still do that?”  Trying to avoid the question, I said.  “Honey, that was a long time ago.”  He persisted, “But how long ago?  Can he STILL do that?”  I said, “What do you think?”  “I don’t think he can.  But I want you to tell me.”  Okay, so he is like me.  He’s asking me to spell it out…because I’m the voice of reason.  “He’s not alive to do that any more.  But his memory still lives because he was such a good role model.  He spent his life loving God and being kind to people.  So, it’s still fun to say that he still does those things.  If another kid says, ‘Santa’s coming to my house for Christmas’ then smile and say, ‘Yes, he is.’  You wouldn’t want to make another kid sad by ruining the fun?” He shook his head.

Two weeks later, my nephew was telling my son about all the things that Santa was going to bring him for Christmas.  My son said, “Santa’s dead.”  I had to run and catch them before the fistfight.