We live in a cynical age.
We live in dark times.
So perhaps the joys of this hopeful season seem naïve — outmoded.
But only for grown-ups.
Alas, too many grown-ups have grown too smart — or weary. They have forgotten essential things.
And sometimes when children yearn toward growing up, they also wonder.
Doubt creeps in.
Should you believe in Santa?
Not the cartoon Santa, of course.
Not the Coca-Cola Santa, peddling his wares.
Not the buffoon Santa, ridiculed in movies and skits.
Not all the mock Santas, conjured to make you buy things.
But the true Santa — the spirit of Christmas, which celebrates family and charity — the Father’s love, the mother’s touch, the selfless sacrifice.
In truth, to believe in Santa you need only believe that miracles are possible.
And who can doubt that miracles dwell among us?
Is it foolish to think that a single bag can hold an inexhaustible store of presents?
Why doubt such a trifle, when the human heart can hold such a sufficiency.
Do you remember how much you loved your first born — so that your heart would burst? And then came along another, and the love was not divided but doubled — as miraculous as the loaves and the fishes.
And if you’ve never had a child, oh best beloved, do you not love your daddy so much you can’t see the far side of it? And miracle of miracles — do you not love your mommy just as much?
And what about you, yourself — so implausibly, miraculously alive. You were not — then you were — complete with a laugh, and a love of sunsets and a soul moved to tears and laughter by mere music.
And what then of music? How can a string of sounds mysteriously lift the heart of any listener — and make you recall the emotions inspired by a thunderstorm or a mountain stream?
And what of water? How miraculous that it actually expands when it freezes. If it did not, the ocean would freeze to the bottom and our wonderful planet would have no children waiting on that magical night for Santa.
Miracles? No miracles?
You might as well say that firemen do not rush into burning buildings to save strangers.
That parents do not instantly and impossibly love their children from the first instant their eyes fall upon them.
That dogs do not impossibly and irrationally strive to please humans.
That children cannot make gleaming magic swords from sticks.
That sunsets do not make the soul swell up to bursting.
That joy does not sound in the silence of the forest.
That the love of a child does not make you a better man.
That mothers do not know the precise smell of their children.
That soldiers do not die for their country.
That the sound of a stream does not heal you.
That teachers do not care about the children of others.
That police officers do not risk their lives for others.
That chocolate cannot make you happy.
That love does not abide.
Compared to all of this, how hard would it be for a magical elf to visit every home on the planet in a single night — when he can draw on the power of the love that abides in each of those homes?
Do not listen.
Take consul of your heart.
For you know — even in a cynical age — one truth remains.
Hope, not fear, defines us.
And unto us is born afresh each season that hope. For “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Anyone who has loved or been loved knows beyond doubt that the essential things cannot be seen.
Of course there’s a Santa.