SPIRIT OF SAINT NICHOLAS ~ SPIRIT OF SANTA CLAUS
To the dismay of some parents of the younger ones in our Program, it recently came to my attention that a few children have been speaking about how Santa Claus may not be real.
As children cross the 9 year rubicon, I know many parents find the transition from ‘pretending’ that Santa Claus is real for the sake of their child’s wonder and awe during their imaginative years to be very challenging. And, all too often, the explanation comes out by default with the parents eventually admitting that there never was a Santa Claus and that all the presents they said were from Santa were actually from them.
One then wonders what the child makes of such statements and how it affects their feelings of trust, which of course can feed into the 9 year change issues that many of them are experiencing.
I have thought about this ‘dilemma’ a lot and often feel a bit of heartache around how children who are ready for the transition into a more mature way of thinking could face the wondering “Is Santa Claus real?”
For me, it all boils down to how I experience all great myths and legends. They are often presented to children with many hidden teachings and messages for the adult audience.
The children experience the myth or legend as happening in their everyday world––adults (if they so choose) can translate the landscape, mood, characters, etc. as aspects of themselves receiving a high teaching map, so to speak, to help them navigate their lives.
The Legend of St. Nicholas (European) or Santa Claus (American) can be a High Teaching about the inner workings of a Solstice Experience. As nature dies away and the winter season directs us inward, we have the opportunity to experience the gift of this time of year: love, peace, blessings, generosity of spirit, open-hearted compassion for others less well off, etc.
To the children, I always say, yes. Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas is real. And then I speak about what it is like to think like a young child……
Santa Claus is about giving and love and a very special feeling inside.
Remember when you were very young––4, 5, 6. Remember how you used to think?
Is it the same as you think now as a 9, 10, etc. year old? (They always acknowledge that they think differently now that they are older.) When children are very young, I say, they imagine the stories they hear as stories that actually happen in the world around them. Stories like Santa Claus or St. Nicholas. But as you get older, like you are now, and begin to think in a more grown up way, you do not think as a young child does; you begin to think and understand important things differently: more grown up.
Have you ever noticed how you feel different as it begins to grow darker and darker earlier and earlier? Do you ever notice how people seem to change as we get closer to the Solstice time? They are more joyful, they want to give gifts to others, they want to help others who are not so well off………………..
What we all begin to experience is something very magical inside. We discover the Spirit of Santa Claus or St. Nicholas inside our hearts. And this I know is very real.