A few houses down, a nice older couple has recently returned from Bolivia on a mission for their church. Their grandkids are living with them while their house is being remodeled. They are homeschooled and I can tell their mom is a very devoted conservative Christian. The sweet girls came to play this weekend. While they played American girl dolls, I began to set up the Christmas tree for Ellery's room. We all chatted. Amara asked Ellery, "Do you believe in Santa Claus?"
"Yes, I do. It grows out of adults though."
Then Amara turns to me. "Do you believe in Santa Claus?"
By now I could tell she didn't. She's nine. Should I say that I don't (knowing that I am Santa) and ruin one of the few opportunities my child has for communal fantasy?
I said, "I do."
"We don't believe in Santa. We believe in God. He was born on December 25th."
"Oh, ok." I said "We believe in God too."
Ellery said, "No, God was born on April 6th."
They both looked at eachother like they were crazy. Ellery believes in Santa and that God was born on April 6th. Amara doesn't believe in Santa and that God was born December 25th. How sad that belief systems can run the risk of ruining friendships.
Binary thinking is the pits in my opinion so I don't think Ellery has to disbelieve in Santa to believe in God. Secondly, I may know that a fat, red-suited man doesn't shimmy down my chimney. But I do believe in the story of St. Nicholas who helped people by giving financial gifts anonymously. I also don't care even a tiny bit when Jesus was born. I just celebrate that he was. I also am happy that Siddhartha Gautama, Gandhi, St. Nicholas, Judith Plaskow, Confucius, Jane Addams, and Paulo Coehlo were born. They have made this world a bit easier for me to live in. Hopefully as these girls come slowly to the truth of things, they can remain friends--because they are both so terribly wrong-and right.