While growing up, the only Santa Claus that I believed in was a fat, cheery, robust, white Santa. He was the one that I waited for to climb down the chimney and put a favorite toy under my tree. In fact, I was conditioned by the media that Christmas was a day when you got something without doing anything, other than being a good boy or girl throughout the year. I must say, however, at this junction, that my parents did balance my material desires by taking me to Sunday School and church every Sunday. This impressed in me the real meaning of Christ-Mass, which was the entrance of God’s son into the world. That belief became the center of my life and impressed me to realize that it was more important to give than to receive.
Getting back to Santa Claus: I had always been presented with a white Santa and truly believed he could take care of my wishes. I did wonder why there was no Santa whose skin was the same hue as my own, but as long as he could do the job of giving me gifts, I didn’t pass judgment. I did, however, wonder how one Santa could do his job adequately. In fact, I also wondered how he could slide down a chimney exposed to all of that soot and come out white!
Once, while I was working at Gertz department store, the management decided that they would have a white and a black Santa, back to back in their toy department. Curiously, the children, both black and white, would stand in long lines to see the overworked white Santa but none of them, including the black children, wanted to sit on the black Santa’s lap. When I observed this, I suggested to management that they have one Santa at a time and not give children an option. When this took place, it was amazing how all the children, black and white, were glad to sit on the black Santa’s lap. It was said by Jean Bruyere, “Children have neither past nor future; and what scarcely ever happens to us, they enjoy the present.”
Finally, I would like to close with a song I wrote that was recorded by Brook Benton and is still played worldwide:
Since nobody has seen Santa on Christmas
When he steals down the chimney with care
Wouldn’t it be so revealing
If Santa had black, kinky hair
Now, I know his cheeks wouldn’t be rosy
But you could tell it was cold
When you saw his red underwear peeking
Over his soulful jellyroll
Now, Santa is a fine soul brother
He loves his fellow man
And he’ll do anything for you
At least all that he can
But, no matter what he looks like
No matter what you’ve been told
There’s one thing about your Santa
He has that thing called Soul!
Have a blessed Christ-Mass and a healthy New Year!
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