I’m not big on the commercialism, or the gift orgies, or the “war over Christmas,” but I love the magical aspects of this holiday. The tree with lights and Santa.
My husband and I just bought our first home together, and I haven’t had a holiday tree since I left my parents’ house to go to college, over 20 years ago. The holidays were times that I was traveling or moving residences–never a time to decorate the house or have people visit. And I was never truly at home, just in an apartment for a while. But this weekend, at Home Depot for another errand, we saw the trees on sale.
Even while longingly looking at the sign, never mind actually going over to look at the trees, I was talking myself out of getting one. “They are too expensive. The cats will climb all over it. We’re not really doing presents this year. Never mind that we’re not actually Christian!” But my husband said quietly, “let’s just go look.” Even in the tree aisle, I was talking myself out of having one: “We really don’t need it. The one that was really on sale is sold out. We have no ornaments. Maybe I don’t really want one anyway.” But my husband said quietly, “which one do you like the best?”
And we took it home. And then last night I put the lights on it and sat in the darkened room, surrounded by cats, and cried because it was so beautiful.
And then I started thinking about Santa Claus. See, I believe in Santa Claus. I am not a “true believer,” those children under a certain age who have not been told he doesn’t exist. I was one until I turned 12 and decided that, perhaps Santa was a metaphor rather than a real entity. But I have come back to the cult, so to speak, because life without the hope, joy, and wide-eyed belief that someone out there exists who loves you totally unselfishly was no fun at all.
Being a polytheist in this syncretic culture that has lost many of its most potent myths and gods, I propose Santa as a deity of love, hope, joy, and kindness between people. Santa can show us at very impressionable times in our lives, whether young or old, that loving-kindness between people exists, that magic is real, and that our dreams can come true.
So, I encourage you to write a letter to Santa Claus this year. Open your heart and pour out everything your heart desires. You will know that you are getting at the true desire of your heart when you feel an emotional charge, which for many of us will start out as fear, anger, and feelings of unworthiness. Do whatever it takes to walk through those feelings, to stay with them while they pour through you like bitter tears, until you are drained of them. For me, it takes writing that letter while drinking a strong eggnog and watching “The Year Without A Santa Claus” alone in a darkened room.
Without going into the theory behind magic, symbols, and gods, I’ll just say that between now and December 24, the energy directed at Santa by children all over the world is rising. Lend him your energy too. The love we focus on Santa this year will be spread around world and into our hearts.
This I believe.