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Christmas and Santa Claus: The Season and Symbol for Hope

Posted by Chip Block on December 25, 2020 8:35 AM EST
Chip Block photo

As children, many of us grew up during a time of prosperity and and giving "things" to others seemed to be the ultimate...

....expression of caring for others.  Santa Claus was a mystery, until he wasn't.  And the less fortunate, who could not afford or justify the expenses of the materialism of the season, were sometimes left out.   

So, as children we didn't spend much time and we rarely marveled at the manufacturing capabilities that must have existed at the North Pole.  We struggled to understand the logistics of how to deliver physical goods to so many people in one night, all across the globe.  And the travel demands boggled our young minds.  

Few of us as young people-at least in the United States and at least as children of men and women with means, and few or our parents, teachers or others looked to find deeper meaning to the mystery of Santa Claus, and the physical or metaphysical symbol that Santa Claus could parallel to the beauty of the Christmas season.  For very religious people and Christians to be sure, the gift-giving was sometimes correlated to the gifts brougt to the Christ child by the wisemen from afar.  For others, it was simply the expression in a physical sense of caring and love....the more the merrier as the saying goes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a disruption in every aspect of every human being's life-suddenly and without warning.  And without a doubt this siruption has cast a pale on so manysaspects of all ourlives....and one wonders how Santa Claus and the season can ever be the same.

Given the tneor of the times, it is hard to imagine that there can be anything positive to come from the COVID-19 pandemic during the most joyous time of year where so many people want to spend time with families and firends and share gifts and stories-in person.  However, just as young children believe in the magic of Santa Claus, I believe that we may find that like many disruptions throughout history, this one may bring some new thinking about what is really important as we together take the journey into the future.

As we look ahead, I wanted to share one "hope" for the future.  There are so many we can consder:  a successful roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines, economic stability and civility among people of different backgrounds, faiths and races, improvments in our healthcare, education, employment and political systems.  We can bring more care to our ecology. to animals, our natural environment and to those less fortunate.  We can spend more time focusing on what is good and what works, and less time on criticism and what does't work-blame versus learning from our collective mistakes-always focusing on what is next and what can we learn and apply from what worka now or in the past and discovering and applying the lessons of failure.  Stop using the idealogy of "holding others accountable" as if most people and organizations are not to be trusted, versus "lifting others up to their full potential".as if to understand the ideology of "everyone wants to make a positive difference"-let's help them do that!

And more gifts under the Christmas tree, more things and places for Santa to deliver and more time with people we love and care about-in person.

All of those are important and worthwhile, but perhaps we may also see that within all of these areas the metaphorical sympbol of Santa and the spirit of the Christmas season as embodied by the great story of the Christ child, and even classic Christmas stories like The Christmas Carol and the Polar Express, is that helping others excel and live better lives beats wealth and economic gain for economic gain and materialism's sake.  Service to others versus material goods is ultimately the thing we can hope will arise from this...and that in the service to othres we will find better and more innovative solutions to the issues of today....and tomorrow.

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