Cold air whistling through cracks in the shrunken window caulk decorated my bedroom window with a feathery layer of frost. I scraped away a small porthole and peered out into the night sky. The previous day’s snowfall glistened in the starlight, creating a unique contrast between the white of the snow and the dark of everything else.
With a waining belief, I pessimistically panned the night sky. Common sense had been hounding me to concede that the fat man couldn’t really exist. There was the logistics of the whole thing, how could a guy in a flying sled pulled by eight reindeer land on my roof without me hearing it? There was no way he could visit every house on earth in just a single night. Besides, how could anyone really consume that much milk and cookies?
There was also the question of how he got inside our house? We had no fireplace, just a six inch metal stove pipe coming from our front-room fuel oil heater. No way was he going to squeeze down that, much less drag a sack full of presents along behind him. The case for Santa Claus was getting weaker by the moment. Still, something inside wanted to believe.
Perched with my elbows on the window sill and head in hand, I stared out into the night like a dog waiting for food to fall from the dinner table. I couldn’t have been the first kid to ever lie awake on Christmas Eve asking himself these same questions. Was it possible that the entire adult world joined forces to orchestrate some cruel hoax on kids?
I found myself teetering on the brink of losing my childhood innocence. Maybe there are certain questions a kid shouldn’t contemplate before he’s old enough to accept the answers. The whole thing made me wonder what else might not be true?
I never really believed in an Easter Bunny, that just seemed silly. However I was quite certain that the Boogeyman existed. My older brothers swore on their lives that he lived in the bedroom closet, and I’m pretty sure I caught a fleeting glimpse of him on more than one occasion.
What about all that stuff that was going to happen to me if I sat too close to the TV, or didn’t eat my vegetables? Is it true that if I kept crossing my eyes they’d get stuck that way? At the gullible age of seven I found myself standing at the crossroads of life.
What would be the consequences if there really wasn’t a Santa Claus? Would it change anything?
I think it would be better to know that I was receiving gifts from parents who loved me unconditionally, and not from some phantom fat man because I had somehow earned them.
Maybe the whole Santa thing was just a way to teach me to trust the One I could not see, and accept the Gift I did not deserve.
After all, isn’t Christmas really about recognizing the quintessential gift giver himself… Jesus Christ
Photo credit: Marcus Ramberg / Foter / CC BY-NC