On Santa, or Satan… I Guess…

I was told that Santa was Satan.

This was in second grade and the information disseminated from a boy no older that I was. His reasoning, as I hadn’t guessed, was because his religion said as much. He continued to verify this by telling me that Santa, when rearranged, spelled Satan. Not trusting my desk-neighbor, I spelled it out on a piece of paper. Sure enough, he was right. Santa was Satan if you wanted it bad enough to be true.

The thing is I grew up in a household that didn’t allow the children to believe in Santa. We were never allowed to believe in any of those imaginary things. No Santa. No Easter Bunny. Nothing.

However, even though I knew Santa to be false in existence, I never needed to bring doubt to children whom had a strong belief in him. I believed that it was okay for these kids to think Santa existed, and in some way, I lived through them. Then they would tell me stories about how Santa came during Christmas Eve and showered them with gifts, and I would love hearing about it.

The reason children in my family weren’t allowed to believe in these imaginary things was because of our religion. My parents figured that when we believed in Santa, we were idolizing a false God. I didn’t really know what he was the God of. The God of gift giving? …of presents? It never made sense to me.

Probably it was because in the Christian faith, Christmas isn’t about the presents. It’s about the faith. It’s about what happened on that day (which actually didn’t take place on the 25th of December, but that’s another story).

To me, it doesn’t matter. You can have your cake and eat it, too, in this world. You can have your faith, believe in God, and believe that Jesus is your savior. You can celebrate that on Christmas, before Christmas, and any time after.

Does any of that mean we have to do away with Christmas traditions?

Not at all. Christmas traditions are just that. Tradition. Christians may celebrate Christmas as everyone else does, by waking up in the morning and giving gifts to their loved ones. They can even say they are celebrating the giving of gifts as a way to celebrate God’s gift to man, the gift of Jesus Christ to this world.

What about Santa?

Well, what about it? We don’t pray to Santa. Yeah, children send him letters and ask for toys, but what’s so wrong with that? We don’t get on our knees and ask for forgiveness from Santa (although we might only if we don’t want a lump of coal in our stockings). We don’t pray to him all year ’round, and, most importantly, people of faith never forgot their faith at Christmas time. People still pray at the table. They still pray at church. They still worship, and life continues just the same whether or not Santa exists.

So what’s the point of denying the existence of Santa to children? Are we so damaged as adults that we can’t let children have a little fun and imagination in their lives? Do we really feel like Santa degrades faith THAT much that we must tell children that he doesn’t exist and that he is Satan in disguise?

No. We don’t. There’s no reason. As long as you teach your faith the right way, there is no reason children cannot also believe in the existence of a supernatural being who gives gifts out on Christmas. Like all other things, they will grow up and grow out of it. So, for the time being, why can’t we just let them live a little as children? We don’t need them to grow up faster than they already do. They have plenty of time for that later in life.

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To Kill A Mocking Rabbit

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When worlds collide, Bugs just can’t help himself.

I wake up, and realize I must still be a little drunk from the night before. That’s my best explanation, anyway, because I had opened my eyes to a strange new world. I look up at the sky and see the man on the moon staring down at me. This isn’t pareidolia. It’s an actual face staring down with an alarmingly creepy smile. It’s even stranger that I have an inexplicable desire to kill Bugs Bunny.

I suppose I should be afraid of the moon or the fact that the world around me isn’t the reality I’ve always known. I mean, the night is blue, and everything has a cartoon quality to it. It still looks real enough, but light diffuses the surfaces unlike anything I’d ever seen. Add to that the fact the trees and grass in the meadow seem to dance without wind, and it all seems completely surreal.

Back to my desire to kill Bugs. It’s a desire I can’t suppress. Imagine an alcoholic surrounded by booze and everyone in the room encourages him to take a drink. That’s how I feel. I’m scared, alone, and in a strange place, and the only thing I have to cling to is this murderous craving. So what do I do? I pick up the double-ought shotgun that magically appears next to me, and set off to hunt a rabbit.

Unlike your typical reality, I don’t have to search very hard. In this new hybrid cartoon world, I start thinking about Bugs, and suddenly, I hear the earth quaking and deep roots cracking. A continuous mound passes through the field, and stops right in front of me. I know from experience as a kid what that meant. So, I point the gun, and out pops a giant grey rabbit.

His ears flop comically as he stares into the two barrels. He gives me a judgmental eye, and then reaches into the hole and pulls out a map. He opens it and says, “I knew I should’a taken that left turn at Albuquerque.”

“Yep,” I say, and pull the trigger.

The blast tears a hole through the paper, and a cloud of black soot obscures my view of the dead rabbit. When it disperses, there’s no body. Just a rabbit hole and a dead map. That’s when I feel someone tap my shoulder.

I turn, and Bugs leans on my shoulder as if we’ve been pals for years. He chomps down on a carrot and says, “Nya… what’s up, doc?”

“I’m hunting wabbit.”

What the hell did I just say?

He says, “But it’s duck season…”

“No, it’s wabbit season.”

“Duck season.”

“Wabbit season.”

“Duck season.”

“It’s—” I begin to say, but he plants a long distracting kiss on me. For some reason, I worry less about the giant rabbit raping my face, and more about why he smells like the latex mask of a Halloween costume.

Anyway, when he stopps kissing me, sit there in a daze. I finally come around a short time later, and the damn bunny is gone.

“Ooooooh!” I say in frustration as I squeeze the shotgun.

I cross the meadow and enter edge of the forest. I step carefully through that ticket, keeping a keen eye out for that rascally rabbit. After a short time, I come to a tiki bar with a suspicious looking man serving drinks.

“You see a giant bunny pass by?” I ask, specifically avoiding any words that use an ‘r’ because apparently I can no longer pronounce them correctly.

“No, sir!” says the man with a terribly dubious southern accent. “I ain’t seen no rabbit come through here. Care for a drink?”

“Okay,” I say as I ease onto the barstool. Picking my next words carefully to avoid my newfound speech impediment, I continue, “This is kind of an odd place to set up shop.”

“Nya, it’s a living,” he says, and that’s when I know it’s Bugs. “Thirsty?”

“Sure, surprise me.”

He sets two glasses on the counter and turns to grab a bottle of alcohol. He spends an absurd amount of time picking a beverage, but that gives me time to use the poison that magically appears in my pocket. After quickly draining the bottle with the skull and crossbones stamped on it, I toss it behind me just as he turns back around.

While he pours the drinks, I prop the shotgun against the counter. The drinks have an incredible amount of froth spilling from the top and an oddly animated sparkle.

He smiles a big buck-toothed grin at me, and I point at the trees behind a tiki torch. “What’s that!”

Bugs turns, and I wait. He turns around, and narrows his eyes at me. The trees rustle, still no wind. The napkins on the bar begin to fly away. He manages to grab the stack, but not before two squares float away. I turn to grab them, and hear a very faint clink of glass against wood. I smirk for a split second before turning back around.

I immediately claim my drink, and he grabs his. “Bottoms up!”

We guzzle the booze, and it tastes amazing. There’s no words in any language I know that could describe the flavor. It was a menagerie that reminded me of an orange and purple sunset over a blue field of grass where pink clouds hung in the sky while a soft melodic tune plays from no discernible source. It. Is. Heaven.

We stare at each other for a short time, and suddenly, he begins to choke. His eyes bulge large, and he makes a series of jerks. Then, he becomes stiff as a board, props a white lily on his chest, and falls to the ground dead.

I enjoy my victory, but I know it’s short lived. Growing up, I spent a lot of time watching cartoons. I know how their minds work, and to beat Bugs, I had to play by different rules. I had to use my humanity to kill him, and in doing so, I also had to kill myself. It was a small price to pay, but in the end as the world around me went black, I was happy knowing I also managed to rid myself of that desire to kill a rabbit after all.