Right there in the pool on that August evening, my favorite little kid looked up into the sky, and said, "Santa..." as if he was going to put in his request, right there and then.
Mom laughed, and said, "...but Santa isn't God." Then dad said, "Well, Santa is like God - but with more immediate consequences."
Now, we all know Santa isn't God - or even like Him, for that matter. But if you think about it - there are some glaring similarities.
- Both judge behavior based on specified criteria
- Both keep tabs on everyone - and a list, apparently
- Both have if this, then that consequences for your actions
- Both have ways to make penance, if you mess up
- Both are somehow related to decorated pine trees....
Anyway...the point is that through faith - and consequences - we learn to be good people, do the right thing, and treat others well. We learn to respect our elders, take care of those less fortunate, and to pass our faith and beliefs on to our children.
We learn that if you have faith, and you really believe, good things will happen.
Some might take offense to the idea that kids learn those lessons from an old guy in a red suit who is practically a cat burglar. I say that learning faith and hope and trust and goodness is a good thing - no matter where the lessons start.