Twas The Night Before Christmas

And all through the house… Only 2/5 of my grandchildren still believe and, in one or two years, it will no doubt be zero. How sad. I can’t recall when I got the message, but I think it was from my older sister. Those were the days when magic and mystery ruled my life! Ah, yes, the ‘good old days’ before the realities of life bore down upon me and all was not make-believe.

There was a stunning statistic in our local newspaper this morning that read: Belief in Santa Claus not simply kid stuff: 84% of adults say they put trust in St. Nick. I wonder what the data reads on the Tooth Fairy?

Put their trust in St. Nick? What does that mean? And what does it mean for our nation as a whole? I’d like to see data from other regions like Europe to compare this ‘trust’ thing. I’m betting that the number is way-lower over there. I’m thinking that ‘over there’ where they experienced two world wars in their backyards in 20 years, that the people don’t easily put much ‘trust’ in a mythical creation with religious overtones.

Perhaps it is our American naivety that holds on to such mythological imaginings.  Not only that, but our deep entrenchment in religious dogma. Our Puritan heritage that we somehow cannot shake nor move beyond. Those stories from the Old Testament, the ones written as lessons rather than historical fact, are regarded by many Americans as absolute historical truth. They have not yet moved beyond the myth, the tropological allegory, to understand that, as in all myth, it is written as a lesson, not as literal fact.

One need look no further than the latest political ads for Rick Perry to understand just how naive millions of Americans are when it comes to the power of myth in their lives. The fanatical ‘war on Christmas’ literally shouts idiocy if one traces the history of the celebration back to its inception some 1600 years ago when it was ‘created’ to coincide with the Winter Solstice to pacify the pagans as well as with the Roman festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti to placate the Roman soldiers fighting the European barbarians. War on Christmas indeed!

Yet, we Americans are a gullible lot. We ‘believe’ in so much magic, myth and magic as to become ripe targets of the propagandist: the politician, the preacher and the merchant. We are an easy sell.

Do you still ‘believe?’ Or, have you moved way-beyond that childlike fantasy that captured and held you in awe  the night before Christmas?

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3 thoughts on “Twas The Night Before Christmas

  1. Hello Muddy,
    I too cannot explain your question of the meaning that “84% of adults say they put trust in St. Nick.”

    During my travels as a young man, I know that his remains are supposed to be at the church “Basilica di San Nicola” (Basilica of Saint Nicholas) in Bari Italy. When the Byzantine Empire (in the area that is now Turkey) was being overtaken by the Islamic invaders, sailors from Bari seized the remains of Saint Nicholas and relics from his burial church in Myra, over the objections of the Orthodox monks. The stolen remains and relics of St. Nicholas from the saint’s original shrine in Myra arrived on 9 May 1087.

    Now for those 84% of adults who still I still believe or trust in St. Nick….I guess they also dream in cartoons.

  2. I cannot ever become jaded enough to say I don’t like Christmas. It’s human warmth and the need for traditions and celebrations which hold us together.Sometimes I feel really silly after being moved deeply by an obviously emotional movie. I watched the Scorcese film, Hugo Cabret in a big theater last week and found my self tearing up…It is a brilliant, entertaining piece of work. To see it in French made it very interesting as it is a French Story.
    But it’s human warmth, emotion, interaction, shared love, joy and wonder that move me. I find the history fascinating, but real people are more so.
    I guess, I’m much too much of a softie, a sentimental sensualist to not like to celebrate Christmas.

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