When did you stop believing in Santa Claus? Did you ever believe in Santa?
Among many other things, episode 12 of the first season of Minami-Ke explores Chiaki’s belief in Santa. She’s doubted in his existence since the previous year, but Kana’s plan this year restores her belief in him. It’s an almost-sweet story in an episode that is as silly as any other in the series, also featuring Toma’s brothers arguing about what gift to get her, Fujioka bestowing a gift of ham upon the girls, and a stuffed bear having his way with a Grizzly before being called upon by Santa.
But it’s that first story about Chiaki that gave me thought. I’ve reared my kids to believe in Santa, and I spent some time this season thinking about whether that was the right thing and how my son is going to feel when he finds out the truth.
I was kind of old, I think, when I discovered there was no Santa. In fourth grade, my teacher read us what became my favorite book of childhood, Superfudge by Judy Blume. There’s a chapter in the story in which Fudge, a five-year-old, tells how he knows there’s no Santa Claus. I came home to ask my mom if it was true, and she admitted as much. The final nail in the coffin was when I found all my presents before Christmas.
Ultimately, Santa is a fairy tale – a nice one, with some basis on a real man, but still, a fairy tale. Many say the same about that other Christmas figure, Jesus Christ, which leads me to ask the same questions I did at the beginning of the post, but in relation to Him:
When did you stop believing in Jesus? Did you ever believe in Jesus?
Christmas is a good time – maybe the perfect time – to contemplate Christ, to consider His claims and His life, to test scripture and measure the veracity of Jesus’ words. You may feel that church has pulled a fast one – as with parents and Santa, they’ve spread a fairy tail that just isn’t true.
But then again, you might find otherwise. And if Christ is real…that changes everything.