Swee’Pea and TheMonk are struggling in their belief. As much as they want to believe in a higher power, they are confronted by peers who audaciously announce that to believe is to be a fool. But they want to believe. I can see it in their eyes and feel it in their hearts – they want to hold onto the notion that a higher power of benevolent good does exist. They want to believe and so they asked me, last night, over dinner, “Daddy, is Santa Claus real?”
I looked at them from across the table and a heaviness weighed on my heart as I struggled with how to answer this question. I glanced at their mother and she looked back at me with a look that said, “How are you going to answer this one?”
And so I told them the truth:
And while I kept it short and neither confirmed or denied the existence of a fat man in a red suit, I affirmed that I believed in him and that was good enough to end the discussion. But as I sit here now, a day removed from the unexpected question, I feel the need to elaborate even further. Because no matter your age, 6 or 60, believing in something is important. So, years from now, as you read this, my little ones, I hope you still believe.
Because I do believe. I believe in a warm, genuine love that makes kids feel safe and wanted and adored. I believe in the magic of Christmas mornings and the anticipation of promises delivered. I believe in cookies with egg nog and carrots for reindeer and stockings hung by the chimney with care. I believe in fantastical stories of ’round the world trips and radar systems that track His every move. I believe in the power of Santa’s lap and the tears of terror and smiles of joy that accompany it. I believe in naughty and nice and a list that is checked twice – a list that holds such esteem that behavior is changed between Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. I believe in the North Pole, Silver Bells and Reindeer Games. And I believe in the power of a man, real or imagined, that spreads joy to countless kids across the world. Yes, my children, I believe.
And I hope you always do too.
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