I was sizing up Santa the other day and I was reminded of the folk song by Arlo Guthrie called "The Pause of Mr. Claus" In it he kind of derides the FBI. The song is from 68-69 and is a reflection on the paranoia the FBI had with Communist and with people in the peace movement. I think we can safely assume Mr. Guthrie was a part of that Peace Movement. In any event the little song with the huge preamble is questioning, “Why do police guys beat on peace guys?” Guthrie uses Santa as an illustration of the paranoid nature of it all in that age. The meat of the song goes like this. (The music you hear on the page is this song but it is not from Arlo Guthrie)
“Santa Claus wears a Red Suit,
He must be a communist.
And a beard and long hair,
Must be a pacifist.
What’s in that pipe that he’s smoking?”
I don’t know why I was reminded of that but It was a happy moment. Music makes me smile even the folksy weird stuff like Arlo Guthrie.
I was thinking of the song because it pokes fun of the establishment using Santa as the object. I have an ongoing issue with Santa. I’m sure it is because of the fact that he has become such a huge commercial symbol of everything that this season should NOT be. So I got to thinking about my own paranoia about the chimney diving dude! The truth of the matter is, however, that I truly love the big red guy. I love the fact that we can believe in the idea that there is a responsibility to offer to the other. That gifts can be given without the knowledge of where they come from is more than an idea, it s an ideal! I love idea that a gift from Santa is a gift from someone we will never get to know, personally. I think as the great night approached I am really warming to Santa.
I think that I am getting excited because I know that all of this talk of Santa’s near arrival heralds for me the coming of the Infant Child, the Holy One, Emmanuel. That Child is a gift, a joy and a great harbinger of hope to the world, a light that dispels all darkness. Santa is good, but Jesus is even better. I suspect that even Santa is getting set for Christmas Eve Masses.
[AN UPDATE ON PAULA (The woman who waited in line for a Nintendo Wii for me) – there are strong indications that Marty Gervais’ column in Tomorrow’s Windsor Star is going to all about what she did for me, for my brother, but as she would say, for the Lord, and for the kids. Also today I received calls from The Telegram (Newfoundland’s Provincial Paper), and the Shoreline a regional paper in Conception Bay Center in Newfoundland. Paula’s story is making its way across the Island and is lifting the spirits of so many people. If you need to be convinced about how one person can make a difference – go have a talk to Paul and you will learn that we all have the ability to make a difference. As far as I can tell that makes both Santa and Jesus happy].