The Christmas season is here, a time when many Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus -- and a fictional generous fat man who is small, round, wears a red suit and flies around in a sleigh pulled by magic reindeer.
Not all, mind you, but many.
And that's strange, since, while I haven't read the entire Bible, I've been through enough of it so far to know that so far there is no person named Santa Claus in it. Yet the way so many who profess to celebrate the birth of Jesus who hold up Santa Claus instead, I can't help but wonder if I don't just need to keep reading and maybe this Santa Claus dude is going to show up sooner or later and valiantly save the day, like some kind of John Grisham plot.
Maybe it's not Jesus who ultimately gets nailed to a cross and brutally tortured, as I've long suspected. Rather, maybe the man who gets nailed to the planks through his hands and feet and hoisted high above the ground to die a painful death will be the jolly man also known as St. Nick.
Your day has come, fat man, the Roman soldiers must have said.
The thought is enough to make one shudder, the image of blood running down Santa's thorn-wounded crown, dripping to his rosy-red cheeks and across his button nose, before settling on and staining his fluffy white beard, with the sounds of his trademark Ho, ho, ho, morphing into skin-curdling, high-pitched cries evoking thoughts of a mouse caught in a trap, while his bowl-full-of-jelly belly quivers as devastating pain rips through his body.
Ho, ho, ho, ahhh...ahhhhhh...ahhhhhhh, Santa says.
What else might explain the passion and propagation so many Christians feel and display for this man known as Santa Claus during the annual sacred celebration known as Christmas? Why, most of the entire Bible seems built around the birth of Christ, with his miraculous birth to a virgin woman. And yet, Santa Claus seems to have stolen the show, despite not appearing once that I have seen among the pages of Peter, Paul and Mary.
That's messed up.
Still, few things draw a crowd at Christmas like the man in a red suit with many, many Christians eagerly in line. Put some plastic boots and a crumpled nylon white wig and board on a man with a beer gut and it's lights, camera and long lines of action. Pictures are taken. Facebook posts are made, along with some Tweets.
#Santa Claus has come to town!
Yes, he apparently rose, got dressed, fed the reindeer, hopped in a sleigh, and went to the mall to hand out tiny candy canes. And Christians are forever grateful, willing to muck up what should be their holiest day of the year by celebrating this strange twist in the Christmas plot -- Santa Claus.