Do you believe in Santa? Yes, of course you do. Who can honestly say that there is no Santa? As we approach Christmas, there are so many reasons to believe.

My uncle used to say that there are four stages of the “Santa Story.” First, you believe in Santa. Then you stop believing in Santa. Then you become Santa. Lastly, you end up looking like Santa. The big guy in a red suit is more than just some made-up token of gift giving. When people claim Christmas has become “too commercial,” they might point at Santa as the culprit. Hey, don’t blame him! We did that all by ourselves. Santa was the one who gave that one meaningful gift per child, from a sleigh, on a wintry night, with nothing but true and good intentions. We all need a little Santa in our lives.

When children are told that Santa is coming, their parents have created one of the biggest faith-based magical stories of all time. My grandson asks why the myth was perpetuated, and I point out that one day in his life, he will need to believe in something that he cannot see, touch or explain. But you can still imagine. And dream. One day in your future you might want to reach for something that seems implausible and unattainable. But you will try and then begin to grasp that with faith all things are possible.

When you stop believing in Santa, you will not be angry with your parents. You have just grown up and will realize what a grand story of love and generosity you were handed. Santa was never created to diminish the birth of Christ, which is the real reason for the season. Santa just adds to the celebration of Yule.

In Santa’s world, no child would go without. We received not because of our skin color, wealth, privilege, need, location or physical attributes. We received a gift because we were a child of this blessed world. A world where a baby born in a stable became King of Kings.

At Christmas, we realize that giving is important. In a culture that is often self-absorbed, we discover that giving is about someone else. It is an unselfish act of thinking, planning, making, building, shopping, baking, and wrapping with a bow an item that represents caring and appreciation.

When children throughout the course of time ask if there really is a Santa, the answer has universally been the same. “Yes, there is a Santa. He lives in the spirit of humanity, in each of us, exemplified by the essence of giving to others.”

There will be times in our lives when we are plagued by problems, illness and loss. We grow from wide-eyed children into skeptical teenagers to cynical adults. The way we see the world changes as we mature. We have big worries. The world could be a scary place. And then comes Santa. The rich traditions of the holidays are all intertwined into a tapestry of sharing that extends throughout our lives. And brings joy to the world.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com