By Jordan Darling, former editor-in-chief
I don’t know if there is a Santa Claus, but I really hope there is. Because I think we could all use a little bit of magic right now.
Even in the best of times, it’s hard to believe there is a magical man in the North Pole who remembers each and every child and pays attention to whether they have been naughty and nice. But it is especially hard in times like these.
We are separated from our friends and our families, so many are out of work, and it feels like we are all scraping by with whatever mental stamina we can scrounge up.
When you take into account the loss that the world has experienced–and is experiencing– the death, the sickness, the forced poverty and isolation, it becomes difficult to believe in anything positive. Let alone to believe in the magic of Santa.
How can anyone believe in Santa, or the holiday season, when the magic seems to have left the most magical of seasons?
But what if the magic isn’t in the season at all? What if we have held it inside us the entire time? What if we are the magic?
Maybe believing in Santa and the holiday season he represents is a window into the human psyche, something we can look through as adults that reminds us to keep believing in something else. Not some supernatural, other power that is going to make everything better. But believing, and summoning, the greatest power humans possess: the power of imagination, the power to create our own magic, one based on generosity, good will, and caring about each other.
Don’t stop believing because Saint Nick seems improbable. Be Saint Nick for someone else. Be Saint Nick for yourself.
That doesn’t mean spending copious amounts of money. It can be a kind word or gesture. Spending time with your family, even virtually. Or calling up that friend who you haven’t talked to in a while. Maybe that’s the kind of magic they need right now.
Maybe it’s the kind of magic we all need right now, the kind of magi that comes from the heart.
Because as dark as it seems, as hopeless and tiring as it can all feel, there is a magic in this season.
Yes, it’s that sense of wonder children feel when imagining that jolly, generous bringer of gifts. But it’s also a reminder of something that seems so simple, but is so easy for adults to forget: the power of kindness
One day, Virginia, like all of us, you will find that you can no longer hold onto the magic of Santa. But that doesn’t mean you have to lose the magic of kindness. In fact, the moment we stop believing in that is when we need to believe in it the most.
So, Virginia, to answer your original question: I don’t know if there is a Santa Claus.
But I do know we need him, or what he represents, as much now as ever.