Flying reindeer, magical elves, ability to descend through chimneys and much more are all parts of the story of Santa Claus. It seems the magic and power of Santa goes far beyond Clement Moore’s poem and the Jossey – Bass holiday television classics. Gene Stoltzfus glimpses the power of Santa when he begins growing out his white beard:
In Defense of Santa Claus
By Gene Stoltzfus in Ekklesia (UK)
Santa Claus was never a big part of my life until I let my white beard grow long. That was twenty years ago. My beard sometimes closes doors for North American Caucasian who think I never got out of the 1960s. But the beard opens more portals to wonderful conversations in places like Viet Nam where they called me Karl Marx.
Elders in Afghanistan admired my beard and apparently trusted me. They addressed me as Baba (Uncle) Noel. Once in Mexico City airport I got stopped eleven times by mothers with young children who wanted their child to meet Senior Noel. It was summer and I didn’t have a single gift to give, not even a piece hard tack candy.
When late November arrives I know I am in for surprise greetings every time I go out. The words from strangers carry positive energy because people have good thoughts about Santa except for children age seven and older who have become suspicious that Santa talk is a ruse and he can’t be trusted to be what they were taught about him.
The home I grew up in acknowledged Santa. We didn’t have a fire place so it was confusing to me how Santa would get into the house by way of a chimney that went to a coal furnace. Somehow he made it and the stockings were full when I awoke on Christmas day. There was at least one small present, an orange and some hard tack candy, not my favourite but I didn’t complain because I didn’t want to stop a good thing.
Related: The Washington Post has a story on “late believers,” children who still believe in Santa past the age of 8.