by christie shumate mcelwee
Dear Editor: Many of my friends say there isn’t a Santa Claus because 2020 has been the worst year ever. Please tell me the truth. How can Santa exist after this horrendous year?
Christie, your friends appear to be skeptical, which is understandable after the year we have experienced. An insidious virus, a racial reckoning, and an combustable political climate have created a terrifying vortex and every aspect has seeped into our consciousness. We’ve been stuck in the eye of the hurricane for months now, watching scraps from our previous world blasted away.
But, Christie, there is hope, and hope IS Santa Claus. He comes in many forms, from Hallmark movies to twinkle lights, but 2020’s Santa Claus is more than a jolly elf dressed in red. Santa has manifested himself in the hearts of all who believe in love and courage and goodness.
Santa is in the scientists who worked to create safe and effective vaccines, and in everyone who is involved in the shipping, distribution, and inoculation process of said vaccines so we can eventually hug one another without fear.
Santa is in everyone who has donated to a favorite charity or ordered takeout from a local restaurant or supported a small business.
Santa is in all the millions who either mailed in their ballots or waited hours in line on November 3 to preserve our precious (and fragile) democracy.
Santa is in all who wear masks, knowing it is the decent thing to do in order to keep us all safe.
Santa is in all who smile through those masks, who are kind to retail and food service workers, who tip generously, and who spread love instead of animosity and discord.
Santa is in all the exhausted educators who have been there in person and virtually for their students since March.
Santa is in all the delivery workers, especially those who work for the US Postal Service. You carry hope in every letter and package you deliver.
Santa is in the courage and dedication of health care workers, those on the front lines of this pandemic.
Santa is in all the artists who have entertained us throughout 2020: the musicians, the writers, the actors, the poets, the TikTokers, the YouTubers.
Santa is in all who forgive more than accuse, give more than grab, understand more than judge.
So, Christie, there is a Santa Claus! He will live on in our hearts forever, and years from now when we look back on these dark days, we will know that Santa still exists because he continues to spread hope and generosity and magic to all who believe.
No Santa Claus! Thanks God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”Frances P. Church, editor of The New York Sun, published September 21, 1897