Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Daddy, Is Santa real?"

I had mixed feelings when I considered posting a blog on the existence of Santa mostly because so many people (including adults) want him to be real even though he defies the laws of physics. So what's all the fuss? Why do some people get upset over the existence of a man that brings hope and joy to people around the world? I'm guessing for the same reasons that people get defensive over religious figures. I'm not suggesting that Jesus didn't exist except that you can only accept the story, as it's told in the gospel, based on faith and not with a scientific, rational eye. Faith is needed to believe in the acts and lives of both figures with the exception that Jesus' existence (excluding miracles) is very plausible and probable. There's nothing impossible about a 1st century Palestinian Jew named Yeshua. Whether he is the Son of God or not is a different matter altogether. Still, there is a very good chance that BOTH figures are completely based on myth and legend since we can only base their existence on stories instead of tangible evidence. So how do we teach our children about Santa and Jesus?

Should teachers be restrained from telling children that Santa doesn't exist? Mentioning God in school is controversial enough but what do we do with jolly old St. Nick? I remember reading "the Physics of Santa and his Reindeer" article that crunches the numbers virtually disproving his existence. If I were a math whiz I'd go through the numbers myself but thankfully some have already stepped up and written rebuttals.

[Warning: Anyone that does not want their belief of Santa crushed into powder should not watch the following video.]

Can someone still believe in Santa after putting him under a microscope? Definitely! I remember telling my wife before the birth of our son that I completely refuse to fill his head with lies about a jolly man in a red suit breaking into homes, eating their food, and leaving mysterious packages under a Christmas tree. And then after our daughter was born I started to rethink my position on Santa. I now see absolutely no harm in teaching our children about Santa. One day they'll realize he doesn't exist but I don't think they'll be psychologically distressed about it. Santa and Jesus both stand as symbols of hope, love, and charity in this dark and dreadful world. They are both the light that guides us to love our neighbors and to think of the needs of those less fortunate. So even though I personally do not believe that Santa exists or that Jesus Christ is the Son of God I will still pass on their stories to my children and to my grandchildren.

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