Ho Ho Hope.

November 30, 2010

I must admit that when it comes to Christmas time I spend very little time thinking about Santa any more.  There was a time when Santa was all I could think about.  We were poor growing up, but not Santa, so I could dream.  I could hope. And most Christmases I got more than I hoped for.  There was one year of extreme disappointment, but that was long after I stopped believing in Santa and not relevant to this conversation.

Then came a season of my life which I am not particularly proud of.  I became one of those obnoxious Christians who wanted to outlaw everything non-religious.  I quit handing out candy on Halloween.  I banished Santa from our home.  I was a bore.  Somewhere along the way I rediscovered my imagination, and realized that it too was a gift from God, and brought fantasy and make-believe back into my home.  I believe I have given them the proper place in my life, but I may be just fooling myself.  Christ is the center of my life, my home and the season, but we leave a bit of room for make-believe.  I try very hard to tell and express the real stories of Christmas and the reason for the celebration, but I no longer feel like I have to kill Santa to do that.

And put in his proper place, Santa can actually help us celebrate the Christ Event.  So today, I will look for a moment or two, and ask you to do the same, at a song written by my favorite cowboy – not counting Roy Rogers –   Gene Autry.  In 1947 Gene and Oakley Haldeman wrote Here Comes Santa Claus.

I really like the way this song weaves together the make-believe and the real.  It allows us the fun of Santa and then reminds us of why we celebrate in the first place.

Hum along if you like….

Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus Lane,
Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer Pullin’ on the reins.
Bells are ringin’, children singin’, All is merry and bright.
So hang your stockings and say your prayers,
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus Lane,
He’s got a bag that’s filled with toys For boys and girls again.
Hear those sleigh bells jingle jangle, Oh what a beautiful sight,
So jump in bed, and cover your head,
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus Lane,
He’ll come around when chimes ring out, It’s Christmas time again.
Peace on earth will come to all, If we just follow the light,
So let’s give thanks to the Lord above ‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus Lane,
Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer Pullin’ on the reins.
Bells are ringin’, children singin’, All is merry and bright,
So jump in bed, and cover your head,
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Peace on earth will come to all, If we just follow the light,
So let’s give thanks to the Lord above
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight,
So let’s give thanks to the Lord above
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

1947  By Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman

So, as you decorate, as you celebrate, don’t be afraid of Santa Claus.  Celebrate him as a fairy story.  Tell the old true stories of Saint Nicholas if you like.  Talk to your children about they way Christmas is celebrated all over the world. This may be the only universal holiday, even the New Year is celebrated at different times in different places.  But as you talk to your kids, impress upon them the difference between the fables and fantasies of the season, and the Truth, the Hope of the season.  God with us; that is what Christmas is all about..

So hang your stockings and say your prayers.

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