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We have a piece on Santa for this Christmas Eve, along with a few other things to check out.
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“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Would you read a bestselling novel, a random facts book, or a cookbook by Snoop Dog?
Is Santa Claus A Wizard? - Op-Ed Piece
Santa Claus has a noticeable feature that sets him apart from just about every other creature on Christmas. No, it’s not the unkempt yet oddly fashioned beard, or the big belly, or the obnoxious laugh no rational person would ever utter; I am talking about his magic. Santa seems to play that card very loosely. He never sits down to tell the kids how he gets down the chimney, or any of his shenanigans, for that matter. At a certain point, the kid is told that he either believes in Santa or doesn’t.
Throw logic out of the window, little Tommy! Santa does all that stuff because he is Santa! So shut up with your logic and sense! This whole thing is for your imagination anyway!
Have you ever talked to a kid about Santa and not know whether they believe in him or not? I did that once. I was teaching a kid about “theme,” no not a theme, the very idea of theme, and how to identify it. I also had to go over the word identify with the kid. Anyway, I somehow got to talking about Santa and kind of implied he didn’t exist. I then asked the kid if he even believed in Santa, to which he said matter-of-factly that he didn’t. Of course, he doesn’t. Kids are too smart for Santa. They are too dumb for anything else, but a fat man riding around reindeer for one night won’t fool them.
Anyway, back to my original point about Santa and that magic. Where did this guy get this skill from? And why doesn’t he carry a wand around? Isn’t there an unofficial rule that all wizards carry wands?
Strangely enough, for our sake, the stories of Santa are never that clear or go into detail about Saint Nick’s power. I mean, the reason he can do something that no mortal person can do, and something so peculiar, that I am not sure if those who could do it would desire to do it anyway. As I said, logic tries to explain it all. But that does nothing for anyone, and then we are all left with the theme of belief. Is it because the belief in the unknown can inspire your soul through tough times and never let the innocence of your youth leave you, or is it that we ran out of stuff to say about the guy? You get why the stories go with the “believe” theme rather than admitting that the writers are out of stuff.
Why does Santa do everything, little Tommy? I don’t know! Okay! That’s my answer! Is that what you want to hear? The whole thing is a fraud! A scam! You have been lied to by everyone about this man existing! Is that what you really want to hear? Yeah, I didn’t think so!
Kids are smart enough to learn that Santa doesn’t exist but not smart enough to know what it really means.
There is one thing very clear to us about the red suit-wearing, cookie-eating, present-delivering saint: He is performing what we would call a miracle.
Miracles are very simple; they are things that science can’t calculate or explain rationally. No excel chart easily graphs the various ways Santa achieves his goals. There is no documentary where we learn how the fat man does his thing step-by-step. No scientific study documenting cases similar to the Santa one can provide insight into how the event even happens. No. That doesn’t happen. And it isn’t supposed to happen. Miracles are made to make us believe in something larger than ourselves. (Believe, there is that word again!)
But how? How does Santa do it?
I am not talking in a literal sense because everyone knows how he does it. He gets in a sleigh led by some reindeer and delivers the presents himself. (It is kind of weird that the CEO of the North Pole is basically doing the manual labor of his company. You’d figure that Santa would find a reliable elf to take care of the job. I don’t see CEOs of large companies working as a shipping clerk for some time of the year, packing and shipping orders. And if you are a boss who does that sort of work for your company, good for you; that’s one hell of a boss) I am talking about what is Santa’s secret. What makes him capable of even accomplishing a miracle?
There are two ways for us to describe Santa’s power or its origin; The first is he is a wizard, and a master of some sort of sorcery, or his power is derived from a higher being, aka God.
Think of it like this, when Harry Potter talks to a snake, the explanation is that he is a wizard. Wizardry is an inherent gift he possesses. He wasn’t lucky or learned the language of snake tongue. His wizarding skills can explain Harry’s miraculous moments. This part of his character is so accepted no one even questions his credibility as a wizard. What I mean is whether it is all in Harry’s head, or maybe he is making the whole thing up as a story. No, Harry is a wizard, and the conversation ends there.
Take another example of a guy whose credit for his miracles goes somewhere else, Jesus Christ. Now, the Gospels make it very clear to the audience that they want you to know Jesus’s power comes from something greater than this world or from God. He can walk on water, heal a blind man, and perform many other miracles because of his relationship with God. However, the Gospels are so focused on Jesus being God that they flat out leave certain parts of the story aside and never mention them again. They don’t spend a few lines explaining what happened to the Wise Men, or Joseph, Jesus’s earthly father, because they want to return to the miracle worker, Jesus.
Those explanations answer the same thing, and that is to justify why crazy things that are out of the ordinary happen in the story. As a follower of a story, when something spontaneous and unusual happens, we as readers want some reasoning for it. You can’t just have the character do some outrageous act and then leave the readers to wonder why it all happened. In both Harry Potter and Jesus’s stories, the readers are told why they happened.
Now, if you want to talk about if Harry is really a wizard or if Jesus is really God, then that is another question that is irrelevant to what their stories have to say about them. Harry Potter is a wizard in his story. Jesus Christ is God in his story. So, upon the first read, you should give the authors of both books the benefit of the doubt and see who they wanted you to see the character as, and then later on, if you wish to speculate or debate about the author’s intention or meaning, you may do so.
Santa has an unusual stand in all of this wizard/God scale. He really doesn’t want to be, either. If he is deemed a wizard, then his connection to the Christian holiday can raise some eyebrows if he is a god-like figure that goes up against the Christian views of the world as well. So what is going on here?
Santa is one of the most powerful characters we have ever seen written in any story, yet there is never a time where we see him go all out with it. Take, for example, what you might see when you see Thor or Zeus at full power. I think Santa’s unofficial association with Christianity limits his power being used as he pleases. He isn’t God. He isn’t Jesus. I don’t even know if he is technically a saint. For all the power he has, he knows he can only go so far with it since he is not at the top of the pecking order.
To make matters even more confusing, in the stories of Santa, he uses the words magic and miracle to describe his actions. For example, he will use magic to make the reindeer fly. He’ll perform a miracle by delivering the presents. This is confusing because most of the time when people talk about magic, they talk about wizards, and when people talk about miracles, they talk about God. Santa brings up these two buzzwords for himself, of all people! That’s an audacious thing to do, even if you don’t think Santa is either.
Most times, Santa’s charm shines through when he performs magic or miracles, and we all love that about him. He winks at the camera. He smiles with his red cheeks. He acts all cool, like performing magic is child’s play.
What are those reindeer doing in the air? Is that a sleigh with one bag, yet all the toys in the world? All the houses? ALL THE HOUSES! Santa shrugs it off because when you are him performing a miracle is just another day.
At that moment in the story, that type of behavior works. But it never helps us get to a major question. Where does Santa get his power from? Nobody asks! And if they do, Santa tells them to be quiet since he is very busy, and who are they to ask him about his powers? What do they know about magic? Which is fair but certainly doesn’t help us.
Most of us can agree that Santa has become his own category, and we accept that about him. He isn’t a wizard since he doesn’t fit the archetype of what a wizard looks like, even though his powers say otherwise. He isn’t a god since his charitable deeds and humble offerings are not characteristics of a god. We all see him as neither. Even though if you said he was one, you wouldn’t technically be wrong.
I will say that if Santa Claus wanted to be called a wizard, he’d have people call him a wizard. He gets enough respect that he if asks for a title change, then he is getting it. But we never hear that in any story. Santa corrects people when they say his name wrong, so you can’t say the guy doesn’t have standards. But he never stops someone and tells them he is a wizard. No, he is Saint Nicholas. Going by that, you gotta think that Santa is somehow a worker/messenger of God and does this as a mission. Why correct people with a name that has religious ramifications unless you are associated with that religion to some degree?
I’ll leave you with a fun thing to think about: is Santa a wizard who converted to Christianity and now devotes his time using his powers to help others, or is Santa somehow blessed by God with these powers and chooses to use them on Christmas day? I like the first option myself.
Next time you see Santa in a story do some crazy action, you will probably wonder how he does it, and you, like everyone else, will get the same response because he is Santa. And that is all you will ever need to know about it. When a guy performs a miracle, he isn’t trying to get your approval or scientific validation; he only wants you to …. Well, you know the word.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
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About The Blogger
Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.
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