The Christmas story is a non-religious, but just as magical story as the Christian story. By now, everyone knows how I feel about the Christian story. It is only a story of good news and hope for the very few. For those not numbered among the very elect, it is a nightmare story of endless horror, fear, and pain. The Jewish story left the vast majority of the world outside of God’s good graces. The Christian story is even more explicit in leaving the vast majority of humans on the broad path that leads to destruction. Only few are set to enter the narrow way that leads to salvation. And that’s the best that news can ever get.
I contend that the Christmas story is equally horrendous. It is only a story of good news and hope for the best of the good little boys and girls. The rest are on the naughty list. And what exactly does it mean to be on the naughty list? It is worse than you think. Though no explicitly horrors such as Hell await the naughty, the terror is implied. For a better understanding, take a look at what awaits the good little boys and girls.
The reward for being good is that you will receive almost anything you wish for. All you need to do is wish for it, and believe with all your might that you will get it. It is a lot like prayer and faith. Of course, you have to be on that all-important list of good kids. It is unclear what is required to secure a spot on that list. One assumes that things like doing your homework, chores, and obeying your parents are the kinds of things that are monitored.
Speaking of being monitored, that is the other part of the prerequisite. Like it or not, you are going to be closely monitored every moment of your life. Everything you do is watched by Santa and his helpers. Meticulous lists are made of everything you do, say, and even think. School time, bedtime, shower time, he’s watching you little girls and little boys. You are always under his gaze. Don’t be shy. He’s seen it all before, and looks forward to seeing it again. You have nothing to hide. You’re beautiful in his sight. Yep, it’s that creepy.
For your loss of privacy, and a sense of being constantly judged, you might just get that Tickle-Me-Elmo. However, if you are very good, you might get something even bigger, such as a cure to grandpa’s cancer, enough food to eat for the next month, or maybe even your dad will stop hitting mommy. These big gifts are reserved for the truly exceptional. Honestly, I’m not sure how you get on that list.
Here’s the thing, if you’re not on the good list, part of your punishment, by omission, is that grandpa is going to die, you will not have enough food to eat, and mommy is going to continue to get the crap beat out of her. Because you were on the naughty list, these things are your fault, at least a in part. Now, based on the reality of their lives, extrapolate the percentage of kids on the nice list, and on the naughty list. I calculate that it is about the same percentage of people on the straight way that leads to salvation, vs. those on the broad way to Hell. Funny how the two stories parallel each other.
I call for us to stop telling this horrible story to children. What of the children whose parents can’t afford the Tickle-Me-Elmo doll? Should they assume that they are on the naughty list? Should they assume that the purveyors of the Christmas story are bald-faced liars? Let’s face it; the Christmas story is only for the wealthy, and those with wealthy benefactors. Asking a poor child what she got for Christmas is as narcissistically insensitive as asking an unemployed man what he does for a living.
Before closing, I have just one brief aside. From a Christian perspective, where does Santa get his magical powers? Christians come from a tradition that place all magic not from God into the category of witchcraft. Witches and warlocks were to be put to death. We barely tolerated “Bewitched”. We boycotted “Harry Potter”. Why on earth do we champion Santa Clause? His power is not from God. He does not promote God. He takes all the credit for his miraculous deeds. Why do good Christians support this particular sorcerer? Hmm…