I want to be Santa Claus. It seems an appealing career. I’m not terribly overweight, but I do love cookies. I could fill out that red suit in no time fat…I mean no time flat. I like snow, and have always wanted to visit the North Pole. I enjoy Christmas music and with the right icy castle, the right reindeer, the right staff of busy elves and my wife by my side as Mrs. Claus, I think I could give it a go. I don’t think she would be very excited about being plump and white haired, so we could probably make an exception. (Besides, I’ve seen some ‘Mrs. Claus’ costumes in catalogs that I’d much prefer to see her wear). The children, all avid toy lovers, would most certainly want to be in the business. Forget medicine! Fetch me my sleigh! The main reason I’d like to be Santa is that I like to give gifts. My wife says that for this reason alone, I would make a good Kris Kringle. I love is knowing what a few people desire, knowing what moves them or makes them smile, then providing that thing. If I had Santa’s budget, Santa’s magic, Santa’s apparent time travel capabilities and Santa’s obvious omniscience, I could really have a good time. I’m always sad when I know that people receive gifts from the ones who should known them best, but the gifts have no meaning. Gifts are sometimes limited by finances, of course, but that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about times when gifts that should be meaningful are meaningless because the giver didn’t take the time to know the heart of the recipient. I hate knowing that children are ignored by parents who are too busy, or too drunk, too self-occupied or too stoned to care. I hate knowing that mothers get sweeper attachments and fathers receive socks, when what they wanted were violin lessons and a Golden Retriever puppy for duck hunting. But when it comes to giving gifts, it seems that the best things are seldom things at all. If I were Santa, I would want the power to give those gifts that resonate in the halls of the heart. Because people are desperate for their hearts’ desires to be known and filled. We are seldom honest with our loved ones about what we truly want. Of course, we are seldom honest with ourselves. Perhaps we don’t tell the truth because have spent our lives so occupied with busy-ness and entertainment that we’ve never bothered to look inside our own wonderful, broken hearts. Having spent some time around people, a lot of people, I think I know what I would be dispensing if I were Santa. I would muster all of my magic and give things elemental. I would give freedom to people enslaved by drugs, by food and by the cruel words of others that hold them down. I would give them liberation from the terror of self, by showing them that all of the bad things they think inside their own minds about themselves are false. I would let them wake up, check their stockings by the fire, and suddenly see themselves beautiful and capable, strong and good. I would lift depression like a cloud blown on a winter wind. I would give children the attention and genuine affection of their parents. I would give relief and hope to those suffering with the pain of diseases, so that on Christmas morning they felt not an ounce of discomfort. I would give back the missing children, and restore the relationships of estranged families. I would renew the passion of marriages that have been mere rote, elevate them from misery to delight and let Christmas morning be like a reunion of lost lovers. If I were Santa, I would visit the dying with visions of heaven so wonderful that their fear was banished like darkness before the rising dawn of Christmas morning. I would let men and women wake to see their dreams as possibilities, and give them some thing, some opportunity, some chance meeting that would send them laughing into the rest of their lives, doing what God made them to do with absolute abandon. If I were Santa, I would even comfort the arthritic bones of old dogs, so they could chase one another once more. If I were Santa, I would do so much. But I’m not. I guess the best gifts are still up to all of us for now. Trust me, when I get the job, you’ll know.

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