Monday, December 24, 2012

Everyday Santa

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home.
-Charles Dickens

For this month’s focus on childlike faith, I bought every book on Amazon that had childlike faith in the title. Obvious is not always the best approach in finding thoughtful reading material. The Red Suit Diaries: A Real Life Santa on Hopes, Dreams and Childlike Faith was more of a memoir of a mall santa than a guide to cultivating faith. Still, there were some interesting stories from Ed Butchart, who keeps his white beard groomed and his heart filled year round.

When asking one child if they have been good, the boy thought long and hard than answered “he had a good August.” In thirteen years of sitting on the “throne” at malls and parks and events through out Atlanta, Butchart has been hit on by Santa groupie moms, witnessed child abuse and made wishes come true for families in immediate need. He talks about the logistics of getting Santa from the parking lot to the photo area without spoiling the magic and best leg positions for exceptionally large children sitting on your lap. He talks about diversion tactics when facing skeptical kids. He talks a lot about his belief in God and how his involvement in Church led him to his gig as Santa.  Butchart does a good job of reconciling the co-existence of Santa in this consumer driven holiday and the other Big Man celebrating his son’s birthday.

As much joy as I have hearing people profess belief in the red suit and all it embodies. I hope more for belief in the source of all these things. I hope for mercy and the humility to accept it. I hope for Christmas to come to every heart and for the faith to keep Christmas every day. I hope for God’s gift to be opened and passed along because, as a give of gifts and a recipient too- I’ve seen this truth. There are wonders in his love.” Butchart concludes in this 220 page quick read.

When the married father of five is not dressing up in his red suit, he runs a ministry that he founded to refurbish wheelchairs and medical equipment for people with physical disabilities. 

Do you remember back to a time when you didn't question?

For today's "Sky's the Limit" on what you can learn- Who is the real Santa? Check out this website St Nicholas Center. It tells the history of Saint Nicholas, the protector and patron saint of children. Nicholas was born in what was than Greece in what is now considered part of Turkey. Orphaned at a young age, Nicholas gave his inheritance away to help the poor and devoted his life to the church. In the fourth century, the Roman emperor persecuted Christians. Nicholas never waivered from his faith even though he suffered imprisonment and persecution. When he died, an unexplained liquid formed on his grave that was believed to have healing power. For many years after his death, stories of his spirit saving children and providing gifts of gold became legend. St Nicholas Day was proclaimed originally on December 6th or December 19th depending on the calendar.

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