‘Does Santa Claus work for Jesus?’
I looked around to see who had asked that question, hoping it was not directed at me.I arrived at the toy store alone, no faces were familiar, yet the young child seemed to be looking directly at me; I did not see his mother at first. I know how I might have answered that question – perhaps it’s best I have no children of my own.”No, Santa does not work for Jesus,” the boy’s mother answered. “Santa loves Jesus and Jesus loves Santa, but Santa Claus is like daddy – he owns his own business.”That seemed to satisfy the kid. With an attention span much like my own, he took his little sister’s hand and headed off down the aisle. The child mother looked much like many mothers do this time of year, sporting a mixture of fatigue, hope and empowerment. Our eyes met and I said, “Nice save.” She smile and headed off after her two kids.This has been a difficult Christmas for me to embrace. In addition to all the usual reasons – commercialism, bad eggnog, Alvin and the Chipmunks music, no luck with mistletoe – there is that war. Though I do believe there is now a light at the end of tunnel, the unnecessary suffering and death on both sides is too tragic for words. I’ve tried everything to shake this feeling. Early in the month I watched “A Wonderful Life,” and I’ve left the eggs, cream and vanilla out of my eggnog and just drank the bourbon – all to no avail. In desperation, I bought a little reindeer costume for my dog, complete with fake horns, booties with bells on them and a rubber red nose. He got so depressed growled at the UPS guy. As a last-ditch effort to get in the mood – and since I have no kids of my own – I decided to buy some toys for strangers. I’m hoping that the thought of little Johnny, Suzy or Carlos waking up Christmas or Hanukkah morning and finding a bullwhip, stun-gun or lawn darts under the tree would bring me some holiday joy. Admittedly this was a two pronged undertaking, both to shake my holiday cynicism and to make up for past transgressions. I’m not totally convinced of the existence of heaven, Karma, reincarnation or life after the Bush Administration, but I’m hopeful. That being the case, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I have a karma dept that needs to be paid. It is not that I consider myself a bad person, but in my teens, early adulthood and well into my 30s, I did some stuff that would make your toes curl. Most of it was just harmless pranks – like fouling the punch bowls at fancy parties and putting super glue in my roommate’s Preparation-H. But there was some stuff that was less funny and more self-serving.After a consultation with my buddy, a retired priest and current Buddhist, I learned I could make amends for all past sins by doing good deeds. Granted, there is some stuff that I can’t make up for by getting involved with those “Presents for rug-rats” programs. For my big sins, I might have to eventually donate an internal organ to some deserving soul. Lucky for me, the owner of the toy store, Jeff, gives me a former-felon’s discount because he knows I’ll never clear my karma debt if I have to pay retail.I should point out there are many thousands of folks who have gotten involved with these programs who are far more generous than I. I watched one local businessman buy gifts for about 10 kids (I can only imagine past sins he was making up for).Whatever the case, the child’s question got me thinking: Does Santa Claus work for Jesus?What does God think of Santa? Does He/She approve, is he jealous of the attention, or does God consider Santa a saint with a fashion problem? I would contend that Santa does work for Jesus – and Buddha, Moses, Gandhi and the Ghosts of JFK and Martin Luther King. I would also suggest that all of us would be well served to get a job with those guys as well, or at least to try to live by their loving doctrines – perhaps even year round. God knows I have a ways to go before my debt is paid in full. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah.Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on RSN TV, heard on KOA radio, and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or at Backcountrymagazine.com.
Support Local Journalism
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User