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The Life and Times of Santa Claus WV

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Ponderings About the Heart of Being Santa

John Johnson

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As I sit and ponder this holiday of Christmas and what it means, my mind often returns to the very root of what it is all about - love. I recall that that first Christmas brought the greatest gift of love ever given, the only Son of God who would later die on the cross for the wrongs of all mankind now and forever. I like to think of the love of a mother, Mary, as she wrapped her new born in swaddling clothes. I like to think that she was overfilled with pride as the shepherds came to see her child, and then seeing that pride overfilled and mixed with wonderment as the Magi came with their gifts. Then my mind moves forward about thirty-three years to a time when that same baby, now a man, hung on that cross and died to raise again the third day. No greater love has there ever been nor will there ever be again.

Then, along the same theme of love, I recall a man about three centuries later who loved his fellow man enough to give secretly to take care of their needs. This man suffered persecution in his lifetime for his personal belief and ministry to the cause of that Savior. But he overcame his obstacles by simply giving. What an example of love for all of us was that man, Nicholas.

Today, both events are wrapped each year into one package as Santa Claus delivers gifts to the children of the World each and every Christmas. And why does he do this? Because of love, the same timeless message that started it all.

We in this Santa Claus community, or Christmas Industry, have joined into something that we often do not realize is greater than ourselves. We are the ones who bare the example, ideals, and principles of Santa Claus to the entire World, and even though we only seem to do it for a short time each year we really do it all the time. The children of all ages are our main focus, but there are others that we often forget. They are the ones who do the same thing that we do - the brothers and sisters of the red suit.

You may think that this is not true, but there is too much evidence. When we allow our egos and personal arrogance to get in front of an encouraging word to a brother or sister who might really need it, we are ignoring the very fabric of what it means to be Santa. We are forgetting love which is the very basis for what we do. When you love your fellows it seems that the whole mindset changes. Instead of the thought of someone stealing another's high dollar appearance one can turn it around to being that the children in that area will receive the love from Santa that they deserve. Love, understanding, compassion, and pride in our collective selves is what will make us better Santas - brotherhood.

When I think of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame I see the men and why they are truly deserving of the honor of being there. They were the best Santas they could and can be. Why are they? Because they made it their legacy and did their utmost to share and spread love. They should be inspirations to all of us to do the same. Yes, they did some awesome things in the suit. But when you learn to truly be Santa by learning to first and foremost love others including your brethren, all of the other things will instantly follow along. All the success that a Santa can have is not genuine unless there is true love of others.

As we walk down this road of life, occasionally taking the ol' sleigh for a spin, let us try with our utmost sincerity to just be Santa and to love one another. We are a family after all, and even though a family has ups and downs they come out on top. With love in our minds and hearts, may the Santa family always share the true Spirit of Christmas with both the children of the World. But may we always share that same Spirit of Love with our peers - our Claus Family.

Remember these words. It is not the fancy costume, the real or traditional beard, the fraternal organizations, the events, or the most extensive resume that makes the Santa. It is the heart. Share it.

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