This I Believe

Kevin - Evansville, Indiana
Entered on September 10, 2008

I Believe in Santa Claus

I believe in Santa Claus. As a fifty-one year old man, that may seem strange. But it’s true, I believe in Santa Claus.

In fact, I believe in Santa so much that I actually become Santa for six weeks every year. I endure chemicals that make the hair on my chin (and head) “as white as the snow.� I have two beautiful, hand-sewn “flight suits� that make me credible to the most discerning eye. Even my license plate says: “C U DEC 24.�

But the magic of Santa comes when I visit with children and adults. Imagine a child sharing the deepest desires of his or her young heart with a person believed to be able to make it all come true. One child asks for a teddy bear that says, “Mommy, I love you,â€? so that it can be delivered to the hospital where a frightened mother undergoes chemotherapy. Another child, with a condition that prevents her from being out in public with ease, opens the door to her home, only to find a fat man in a red suit standing there, and she sits so close to him on the family couch that a piece of paper would be hard-pressed to get between her and Santa. A deaf child simply wants to sit on Santa’s lap and is amazed when Santa signs, “Merry Christmas! Santa loves you!â€? An adult, who carried a disappointment over a long-ago missed gift, reconciles with laughter as Santa tells a joke that helps make it better.

When I became Santa, a little over four years ago, I had no idea of the journey that was before me. It has been a journey of joy – a voyage of wonder – a flight of sheer delight. This journey is no less magical than one might expect of a long evening spent in a sleigh behind eight flying reindeer.

Santa has taught me so much, not the least of which is to enjoy the life you’ve been given. That joy is best found in the old saying that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.â€? Santa frees us all up to do just that. Time, compassion, joy, love – all are gifts that Santa enables us to share with greater ease. And that makes us the people we dream we could really be.

Charles W. Howard, who established the world’s oldest Santa Claus School in 1937, put it this way: “He errors who thinks Santa enters through the chimney. Santa enters through the heart.” I’ve seen it happen – in myself and in others.

That’s why I believe in Santa Claus. For no matter how sophisticated or cynical we become, within each of us there is still a child waiting for the magic to happen just one more time. When I zip up my red coat and pull on by big boots, I believe it will happen again. In fact, I know it will happen again.