Saturday, December 10, 2016
"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: it is only with the heart that one can see rightly: what is essential is invisible to the eye." ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
My eight year old (just turned) grandson found out there is no Santa Claus this past week. The news arrived by text. His father wrote,
"He pinned us down about Santa today. We couldn't get out of it without blatantly lying. We told him there isn't one. He is sad. Loss of innocence. We told him not to tell his sister. He's becoming a man. Well, becoming eight years old, anyway."
I text back. "Oh honey, such a big loss for him. He so loved it. Makes me sad.
My son responds, "Yeah, and for us. We are fortunate it lasted this long."
I still feel the sadness as I begin this writing. He did love it so and the anticipation began in July. Any wonder his Grandma had a tear. Santa died and with him the wonder, hope, magic, the red suit, the laugh like a bowl full of jelly and those eight tiny reindeer flying through the starlit night sky guided by a little reindeer with a red nose.
In fact, the other day (before he got the news) he decided to call his house "The Christmas House." We gather there on Christmas Eve to celebrate two Christmas stories: one from an old Bible my Grandmother invested in over a hundred years ago and the other, a story about "The night before Christmas when all through the house...." After carols, we listen to the 2000-year-old story about shepherds, sages and kings following a magic star to find a Babe in a manger. The second story is about who the cookies and milk are waiting for by the fireplace. A most magical, mythical figure dressed in a red suit. And as his sister announced, last year, "I love that guy."
Several years ago, I wrote, "The one foot Santa was unwrapped next. As the red suit and beard emerged -- an intake of breath. Eyes widened and mouths formed a perfect "O." A high octane sound of pure glee, innocence and deafening aliveness filled the room. Two children bursting their skin with an ecstasy welling up in an instant from a deep, deep land of joy, love and aliveness." And then there is the magic of the night ride over the roof-tops -- oh, the wonder to fill little souls.
Santa certainly is a Saintly tale. Even though the "guy" does get vandalized by our logic and materialism, he did start out as a Saint, called Nickolas. Acts of service, giving to others and working 365 days to do it, seems to be his life. His wife and their elves work to serve joy, excitement, ecstasy to every child who has a chimney and every child that doesn't.
Both stories are spirit-real, both belong to the invisible and both release so much mystical-magic that even our scrub-spruce here in the living room gets transformed into, "It's awesome, Grandma." These are the stories that live in our imagination, in our hopes for a better world. Even Einstein tells us, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
And so, how exciting to live in a Christmas house filled with love, joy, magic and twinkling stars. Hopefully, it won't take my grandson a lifetime to move again into the joyous abandonment and ecstasy found in such a place. Besides, all is not lost, saints also come in human form and I even know some called Moms, Dads, sisters, aunties, uncles, neighbors best friends and possibly a Grandma or two.