Earlier this week Santa came to school. Each kid took a turn sitting on Santa’s lap and told him what he/she wanted for Christmas.
One three-year-old, in his itsy bitsy tiny voice told Santa that he wanted a monkey vampire. He also wanted a Christmas tree with real vampires on it. Good luck to his mom.
While one of my four-year-old classes was busy reciting Christmas wishes to Santa, one of the moms slipped in and whispered to me, “I came a little early because he wanted me to be here for Santa just in case he needed help. Last year he got nervous and asked Santa for chicken nuggets and french fries.”
Speaking of Santa, Kev and I were in charge of the ward Christmas party yesterday. Most wards go with the traditional “special visitor” (a.k.a. St. Nick), but not our ward. Our visitor had a few things in common with Santa–magic, deception, and flashy costume. Take a guess. Not the Grinch. Not the Three Wise Men. Not the Little Drummer Boy.
A Christmas magician? Nope. Just a magician.
Don’t get me wrong. He was very entertaining. His tricks went off without a hitch. He made the kids very impressive balloon animals. He more or less ended with his testimony. Definitely not your typical Christmas party “special visitor.”
There are pro’s and cons to deviating from the Santa norm. Personally, I never really enjoyed sitting on Santa’s lap as a child. One of my favorite pictures in my scrapbook is of my then one-year-old brother sitting blissfully on Santa’s lap while my mom holds a screaming three-year-old Lindsey. Really, what’s enjoyable about sitting on a strange, furry man’s lap? And yet, it’s sort of a childhood rite of passage.
On the other hand, it’s just so fun to see most kids’ faces light up when they see Santa. Santa is somewhat non-denominational, but he happens to provide a child-friendly first glance at faith. As a child I remember looking at the skinny stovepipe of our wood-burning stove and thinking that a child couldn’t fit through there, let alone an overgrown man. But I believed that somehow Santa had that already figured out. Santa allows kids to see that you don’t have to know all the answers to believe in something. That’s what faith is all about. You’re in a seemingly hopeless situation and you can’t see how it could possibly work out ok. And yet you believe that God has it all worked out. And the thing is, it always does work out.