The story of Jesus and Santa Claus seemed to be about of equal importance when I was a little girl. They both seemed impossible. Different sorts of miracles. I mean, who can get reindeer to fly? And what about having a baby in a barn? That’s weird. Who cares if the inn is full? You’re not supposed to have a baby in a hotel. For Pete’s sake. Everyone knows babies get born in a hospital.
I never thought too much about how Jesus got into Mary. Of course I knew super-early that babies grow inside moms. I’d have to be some sort of do-do bird not to know that. Mom almost always had a baby growing. That’s what happens when you get married. Except for Mary. She got visited by an angel who told her God chose her to have a baby without a husband. I found out when I was old enough to read newspapers that lots of girls get chosen like that, but most of them never get visited by angels. That’s a different kind of miracle and those girls just have to trust God. No angels came and give them a message.
Mary was super-lucky, cuz an angel came right to her in broad daylight and told her not to worry one iota about having a baby without a husband. Everything would be just fine, on account of God picking her long ago, when she was just a little baby herself, and he’d been keeping an eye on her, and she proved she was a good person, never thinking or doing mean things like most of the other people on the earth. I guess God was sorta like Santa, keeping an eye on who’s good and bad. But Santa only brings Tiny Tears, not real babies. I asked for a real baby once, cuz I thought I needed one more sister. It takes a long time to make babies, so I never got my baby sister until the next September.
Mary was engaged to Joseph, but not married yet, so he got sorta confused when she told him the good news. Mary’s news was sorta unbelievable on account of them just being engaged, not married. Joseph musta thought the donkey was getting ahead of the cart. He wasn’t as lucky as Mary. No angel showed up to tell him everything was going to be alright. Well, unless you count a dream. Joseph dreamed about an angel setting him straight about what a good person Mary was, and that the baby was God’s son, not Joseph’s. I wondered if Joseph made sure to tell someone the dream before breakfast. That’s how you make dreams come true. So if you have a bad dream, keep it to yourself until after breakfast. Only tell the good dreams to someone before breakfast. Still and all, I wondered a lot about God and angels. It seemed like he should have sent the angel in broad daylight to Joseph and left the dreaming part to Mary. I especially thought that after I learned how fathers help babies get inside moms.
God kept talking to Joseph through angels and dreams. If I was Joseph, I would’ve been afraid to go to sleep at night. Angels never told Joseph easy things like, ‘put a tree in the corner and in the morning there will be presents under it.’
After Jesus was born, an angel told Joseph to move clear to Egypt. The angel said that bad people were trying to kill Jesus. Those bad people ended up killing all the baby boys cuz they had a hard time figuring out which one was Jesus. Tons of moms and dads were crying their eyes out, and probably the ones with daughters were super-glad they had girls. In the meantime, Joseph skedaddled in the middle of the night with Mary and Jesus and a donkey. Later, the angel told Joseph to move back home again. Man-on-man, that Joseph had a lot of faith. Just when he got all settled and comfortable and finding friends, he had to get his carpenter tools packed up and start his business all over again. If that was me, I’d be putting my hands up in the air and saying “For the love of Mike.”
Santa had his workshop up at the North Pole and never-ever moved that anywhere. Tools are heavy and you have to keep them organized if you want to get anything done. I learned that from Grandpa. He had a whole room full of tools, all with their own special places. Santa would probably miss a whole Christmas if he had to move. Santa could get all around the world in one night with a sleigh full of toys, but moving his tools was asking way too much. Well, I suppose if an angel came in broad daylight and asked Santa to move, he would do it. I think angels have extra good arguing powers, cuz people seem to listen to them a lot. Mom said I was a good arguer, and someday I should be in debate, then I could argue by head off if I wanted to. To tell, the truth, I’d never ever argue with an angel, whether in broad daylight or in a dream. I’m sorta scared of angels. Except for guardian angels. My guardian angel never let me down.
Now, as I juggle work and shopping list, and rush from recitals to parties, I struggle to keep the mystery and wonder of Christmas foremost in my mind and heart. Still, when I see a grandchild on Santa’s lap, the feeling rushes over me. And, I do think that Joseph’s faith is under-rated. Think about it. Mary knew the truth. Joseph relied solely on trust. That poor man of such great faith. I strive to be follow the voice of angels when they speak to me in dreams. Believe me, sometimes my dreams are so entertaining and vivid, I am 99.9% sure my guardian angel is still looking out for me.