Saturday, 25 December 2010

The Santa Cause

"You better watch, you better not cry, better not pout, I'm telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town!"

The lyrics of a popular Christmas carol act as a time machine transporting many of us to the days when we were young, innocent, lucky and naive enough to believe in the existence of a jolly plump fellow dressed up in a red and white suit, a snowy flowing beard, who went "ho ho ho" and called himself Santa Claus!! As children, most of us have believed in the legend of Santa Claus who lives in the North Pole toils away all year long to fly on his reindeer hauled by the red-nosed Rudolph, who climbs down our chimneys and brings us our Christmas presents!

As we grow older, cynical, too over smart for our own good and lose the innocence we once possessed, we ask the eternal and perennial question which ends up marking the demise of childhood! "Is there really a Santa Claus"? We end up googling his origins like I just did and find out that the basis for the Christian-era Santa Claus is Bishop Nicholas of Symrna (Izmir), in what is now Turkey. The Orthodox Church later raised St. Nicholas, the miracle worker, to a position of great esteem. In the Protestant areas of central and northern Germany, St. Nicholas came to be known as Weinachtsmann.

In England, he came to be called Father Christmas. St. Nicholas made his way to the United States with Dutch immigrants and began to be referred to as Santa Claus! Which brings me to another question. The one which we should be asking ourselves. Weren't we happier when we didn't ask this question? When we didn't google our query? When we blindly believed and strived to be better so that we wouldn't be crossed off Santa's list?

Santa to me represents the ultimate judge between the good and the evil, the foremost protector of our moral values and all in a manner that brings us joy and merriment! Would it be so bad to believe in him if it makes us better people? If it helps us regain some of the innocence of our lost childhood? If it makes us fear wrong doing and inspires us to do good deeds, what's wrong? If you ask me, Santa Claus does exist. Whenever we help the needy, bring a smile onto someone's face or stop ourselves from being selfish or mean, he beams proudly at us from his home in the ice-clad North Pole. Merry Christmas!!

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