Advent 2020: It’s Good to be Saint

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 11:6

We are on day 258 of 15 days to slow the spread.

Yesterday was The Feast of Saint Nicholas or Saint Nicholas Day.

Nicholas of Myra was an early Christian bishop in Asia Minor. His legendary giving of gifts in secret, particularly to the needed is the basis for our modern day Santa Claus.

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I have grown into the role of the man in the red suit. No, not that way, the suit has always been somewhat of a comfy fit, darn it. But I’ve come to love the portrayal of Santa Claus.

There’s no doubt that Christmas will be different this year. Just like everything else.

Rather than doing their job and actually reporting the news, we’ve had the media hyping stories about how Christmas gatherings, and parties, and even Santa will have to be canceled.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of their bah humbuggery.

I wrote last week, and I write again today, you can’t cancel Christmas. Haven’t you watched the Grinch enough times to know that?

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!

Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

It means a lot more.

But since today we’re focusing on St. Nicholas, let me tell you a little more about what a vast army of Claus portrayers, both Santa and the Mrs. have been working on. There are hundreds, if not thousands of Clauses out there trying to find creative ways to bring on the Christmas spirit. Whether it’s virtual, like I’ll be doing with Jingle Ring, or behind plexiglass, or from a distance, Santa will be around this Christmas.

Besides, Dr. Fauci said it will be safe for Santa to visit your home on Christmas Eve because you know…science.

Too soon?

I’m in the final stages of gearing up to do virtual Santa. Like any good thing, it’s taken a while to get off the ground. I mean we all know that Santa’s sleigh won’t fly if there’s no Christmas spirit.

While I wait, I’ve been making some other appearances as Santa. This morning, while you’re reading, and sharing, this post, I’ll be filming some extra scenes for a movie we shot right before we were all placed under house arrest in March.

Over the weekend I spent three days in a snow globe at a local mall. It was a promotional event for The Snow Globe Santa, a charming new book by Richmond author Kathryn Burgess. You want this book in your holiday collection. Yes, you do.

Children were able to come and see Santa who was trapped inside the snow globe.

No spoilers. Buy the book.

We had a steady stream of visitors with children coming to see Santa and tell him, or remind him (eeek!) that they’d already told him, what they want for Christmas.

As the children came forward, you could see the wonder in their eyes. This is Santa, the man they’ve loved or been absolutely terrified of all their lives.

The parents, family, or guardians, you just never really know, were equally excited.

Many thanked me for being there. More than once I would hear a “Hey Santa” from across the mall courtyard. Someone would be pointing their camera phone at me and saying “Thank you for being here. I wasn’t sure children would be able to see Santa this year.”

It was at that moment that I realized that I’m going to be on Facebook pages and Pinterest Boards all around the world.

I digress.

I also came to an understanding of what I didn’t realize as a child. Santa “feeding his reindeer” is code for “Santa also has to pee.”

Again, I digress.

I realized something over the weekend that I have previously not really understood. Up until this year, most of my work as Santa has been on the stage. That obviously changed.

I’ve done a few of the sit on Santa’s lap sessions, but nothing to this extent.

I understand now why my fellow Claus persons mean when they tell you that there is nothing like it.

In real life, I’m a natural introvert and can usually only take large doses of people for so long before I need to retreat to the sanctity of my home office. But not this weekend.

Other than at one point when I really needed to “feed the reindeer,” I didn’t get tired.

The children kept coming. I kept loving it.

Then another realization came.

With all the horrors that have been 2020, whether it’s the pandemic, or the election, or any of a number of things in this dumpster fire of a year, being in the chair as Santa made me think that the year might not have been as horrible as I thought.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It totally sucked.

But, there is hope.

It’s not in a vaccine or an Inauguration.

I couldn’t have told you the politics of any family coming up to see Santa this weekend.

I mean, you might think that the children asking for Nerf guns were from 2nd Amendment families. But they could just as easily be Antifa…

Too soon?

There was a realization that without the safety of our computer screens, maybe we’re not so cranky or divided after all.

It’s just yet another reminder that you can’t cancel Christmas.

Sure it will look different. Except for the very youngest of children, adults and children alike wore their masks to see Santa. Since we were outdoors and Santa was stuck in a snow globe, they were able to take them off for the picture. Some chose to leave them on to mark the year.

NARRATOR: I don’t think any of us are going to forget this year with or without pictures.

Even with a pandemic and the masks and separation from the ones we love, the joy, the magic, and the truth of the Christmas season remain.

This month we’re on our way to Bethlehem.

The children are showing us the way.


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