Maybe they are seven years old. Maybe they are five. If they are 12 or 13 we’d all be better because of it.
Nevertheless, the question will come, certainly. And when it does, maybe you’ll hear a tectonic groan beneath your household. Seismic plates will shift. A tea cup could tumble.
The truth and the miraculous, intertwined as a matter of course, will inevitably disentangle, like a child’s shoelaces.
An apple will be bitten.
Cold calculations will be confronted.
Maybe baby bites at first. Maybe a few lead-in questions, such as, how can a reindeer fly when it doesn’t have wings?
As a child becomes spatially savvy you may see them, a storm on their brow, mulling over the width of the chimney flue and the girth of Santa’s stomach. They may squint at the pitched roof, all the while trying to rationalize the improbable rooftop, gift-laden landing.
They may begin to pshaw the sheer logistics of a one-night benevolent romp around the globe.
Bit by bit, detail by astounding detail, they may unravel the myth, while you still coax its authenticity.
Or maybe the question just comes out of the blue, a sparrow falling.
Is Santa Claus real?
The answer? Without question!
He’s the medical worker who gives free care for the uninsured.
He’s everyone who stocks the shelves at a soup kitchen.
He’s the one who wraps a gift for a family in need.
He’s the teacher who instills compassion.
He’s the volunteer who stays late.
He’s the boss who says cut out early.
He is the CEO who takes a pay cut.
He’s the one who visits the sick, the one who befriends the lonely.
He’s the patriot who gives his love, even his life, for his country.
He’s the neighbor who shakes the hand of a new immigrant.
He’s the commuter who sings his lungs out alone in his car.
He’s the parent who skips the meeting to attend the school play.
He’s the Red Sox fan now quietly pulling for the Cubs.
He’s the one who says a silent prayer when the sirens go by.
He’s the homeowner who houses a hurricane victim.
He’s the aged spiritual leader still ecstatic about the message.
He’s the stranger who mailed your misplaced envelope.
He’s the mentor of a troubled child, the tutor at a prison.
He’s a foster parent.
He’s the impetus for all belly laughs.
He’s the deli person who knows your name and knows how you like your sandwich.
He’s the driver who pulls over when you’re stalled in the breakdown lane.
He’s the firefighter or ambulance corps member who leaves the warm sanctity of bed on
a frigid night to respond to an alarm.
He’s the oil chief who provides cheap fuel for poor families during a cold winter.
He’s the student of history.
He’s the one who troubles himself over the future, getting his hands dirty in autumn to
insure daffodils in the spring.
He’s the corporate leader without a post office box in Bermuda.
He is the honest mechanic, the calming and comical nurse, the craggy town watchdog, the politician who shuns credit.
He makes the meals.
He takes the fall.
He’s the brave voice who declares “Diversified we stand!”
That gutsy super man and super woman. That jolly ally. That friend forever, no matter what. That voice for the weak. That donor. That devotee of the disenfranchised.
He is the merciful we.
Still, there’s no need to tell the little ones.