Friday, December 30, 2005

Other times, other faces

One of the things that people forget is that I don’t just deliver toys at Christmas.

I deliver on my feast day (December 6), and on the Feast of the Epiphany, as well as on Christmas.

And I don’t always deliver as “myself.”

Nor, for that matter, is the popular image of me in the United States even the real me!

Yes, I am overweight, but not nearly as overweight as I am picture. Why, one time when I worked briefly as “Santa Claus” at a store during one of my visits, I had to wear padding!

I have a beard, but not nearly as long as commonly shown. When I visit other lands I look “normal” enough not to draw notice.

I do wear red. I am a bishop, and the color is the color of my robes.

But I also wear other colors. I’ve even delivered wearing other colors. (My favorite was a green plaid outfit I wore a few times.

I am about 6 feet tall, not short as sometimes shown.

But more than just my clothes or appearance change.

I am Father Christmas, Baba Noel, Jultomten, and others – all with slightly different appearances.

I have been a child (even called the Christ Child, El Nino, in South America), a woman (Befana in Italy and Baboushka in Russia, and the Old Lady of Bethlehem, for example), and even Three Kings(!) in Spain.

All the gift giver stories come together in me.

I am me – the me my wife and the elves here at the North Pole see.

But around the world, people see what they believe.


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