Believing In Santa

When I first told my children about Santa Claus, of course I knew there was no actual human being I was talking about. But I told my children he was real and would reward them for being good.I didn’t care how they envisioned Santa, for there are so many variations of his image, all so innocent in spirit, lighthearted and loving. It didn’t matter. I didn’t care how they imagined he spent his time at the North Pole with Mrs. Claus, the elves and reindeer. It didn’t matter.

We all understood that Santa was real in a different way than our friends and neighbors were real. He was real in spirit, and so we could imagine all sorts of things about Santa and even read conflicting ideas about his life and accept them all without difficulty. After all, nobody really knew for sure.

The specific details of Santa’s existence were not important. It was the underlying truth, that there are larger reasons for good behavior, reasons that could last for a year or even longer. Santa was a power for goodness in the world who would bless you for your honest heart and punish those who were cruel and deceptive.

As a grownup, I replaced the idea of Santa with knowledge. I knew that honesty, no matter how unrecognized it may be among friends and family, fills your life with joy, the kind of joy that is free from shame and guilt. I also knew that those who are dishonest and mean, no matter how long their actions may go undetected, are immediately punished for their sins because of who they become. They have lost the heart of an innocent child.

Heaven and hell are here, and those who are evil live in a hell of their own making, the hell of their own existence, no matter how long they avoid punishment from others.

In this dangerous and unpredictable world there are so many good people who are so unjustly punished by life, by disease, natural disaster, political oppression or just everyday happenstance.  Earth is a place where all things are possible, both good and bad. It has something to do with free will. But if we struggle against adversity with an honest heart, we will find higher ground.

So my children grew up believing in Santa, even though they did not keep him firmly in mind throughout the year. But they grew up believing that striving to be honest and good was the right way to live. And even though some of the children they knew did not believe in Santa, they did not fight with them. Some believed, some didn’t. It didn’t matter.

Most of the children who believed in Santa needed no proof. They accepted Santa as a matter of faith, buttressed by the occasional Christmas morning miracle of the missing cookies and nearly empty glass of milk. When my children began to seriously question the existence of Santa, I took them to an old stone church and we sat in a beautiful, vine-encrusted alcove and I explained that Santa was more than just one single person.

I told them Santa was the spirit of giving that lives in all of us who find joy in bringing happiness to others. I told them every department store Santa who gave joy to little children was filled with the spirit of Santa. I told them every parent who wrapped up a special gift with a card that said, “Love to you, from Santa!” was inspired by the spirit of Santa. I told them Santa was more magic than they imagined, that instead of being just one person, Santa was the spirit of kindness and love that filled the hearts of millions, especially at Christmas, and that we should keep his spirit alive every day of the year.

I told them that as we grow up, many of us replace the idea of Santa with the idea of God.
I told them the best parts of all religions were filled with this spirit, and that this is what so many people mean by the word God, that God is a force for honesty, kindness and love in the world. I told them it does not matter how we picture God or how we define God. As long as we fill our hearts with love and charity, then we are doing the work of God here on Earth.

I told them words and pictures are what we use to help us understand the spirit of Santa, the spirit of God, but the words and pictures are not what’s important. It is the meaning behind the words and pictures, the inspiration that fills each heart.

We are all imperfect, we all make mistakes and we all have times in our lives when we are so certain about things that we become blind to our errors. To fight each other over ideas about God is like trying to prove whose idea of  Santa is the real idea. To fight each other over ideas of God is to be so certain that we have become blind to our own imperfection and capacity for error.

I told them some people forget that these stories are about meanings, not details. They are intended to open our hearts and help direct the course of our lives. It’s the message that's important, and what it says to each of us.

I told them to respect the religions of all cultures, that whatever ideas of God people believe in, if these ideas open their hearts and lead them toward honesty, compassion and love, then they are on the right path – all of them.

The details are not what’s important. We all speak different languages and have different ways of describing and understanding things. It’s the essence from which all explanations come that is important. That’s what faith is for, to keep the connection strong between ourselves and God because words are not enough.

We all have to start somewhere. Some of us start with Santa. The important thing is to realize that spiritual growth is like any other kind of growth – it requires change. The lessons we learn as children are for children. The lessons we learn at the beginning of our spiritual journeys are for beginnings. To grow a larger soul, we must not get stuck. We must not stop. We must keep going.

~~~

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Imagine



If you are not living the life you imagined,
imagine the life you are living.


~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Home On The Range

Home On The Range
On The Horse

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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No Surprises










I like to go shopping
In the deep blue sea,
Where no one is surprised
By creatures like me.

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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© All Rights Reserved

What Is this?











This is a mother whale,
Swimming in the ocean
With her baby,
Coming up for air.

She is an abstract whale,
Swimming in an abstract ocean
With her abstract baby,
Coming up for some abstract air.

The abstract sun is shining
And the abstract water is warm.

The mother and her baby are happy.
They don't mind being abstract
Because they are really alive somewhere.



~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Stoopid














Just cause I'm stoopid don't mean I ain't got no brains!

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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Not Me!












Some people see a tree
And want to count the leaves.
Not me!

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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Nice Kitty ?













Some cats are nice,
Some cats are mean,
Some are in-between.

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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© All Rights Reserved

Tickly



This is a tickly.
He loves to tickle.
He's sneaking up on you.
Watch out!


~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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© All Rights Reserved

A Windy Day















It was a windy day.
My balloons all flew away.
But I did not care.
They looked lovely in the air.

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Treevolution








If trees could talk,
What would they say?
If trees could walk,
Would they run away?



~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Smile!

















Smile for the camera,
Smile for the day,
Smile because you're happy,
I hope you stay that way!

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Kitty Wants To Fly












Kitty wants to catch a bird.
I bet you don't know why!
Kitty wants the little bird
To teach him how to fly.

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Q and A





Q: Where was Mr. MacMan when the lights went out?










A: In the dark!









~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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© All Rights Reserved

Evolution






This beast
is part pickle.
How did this happen?



~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Free Range












Doh-Re-You
And
Doh-Re-Me,
All God's creatures
Want to be free!

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

I Am Confused















You don't
Have to know
What everything means.
Even when you're old
And you like green beans.

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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© All Rights Reserved

Ozone Man







Oh no!
Bob forgot
to put on his sunscreen!




~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

The Roving Birthday Beast









On the night before your birthday, a little after midnight when you are asleep:

The Roving Birthday Beast will secretly come to your house and bring you good luck for the next year. How do you know if the Roving Birthday Beast has been to your house? He will leave some banana peels in your trash can!

So when you wake up on your birthday morning, look in the trash, and if you find some banana peels then you know he's been there and you'll have really good luck for the next year!

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Big Or Small?



Big
Or small?

It all
Depends
On the size
Of your friends.





~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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© All Rights Reserved

I Wish For A Fish



I threw a penny
Into the sea
And wished a wish,
A secret for me.

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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Happy








Happy is joy
And joy is love.
They all come
From heaven above.



~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

The Monsters I Make














The monsters I make can be scary,
Scary and hairy all day.
I give them great big bags of candy
So they’ll scare all my bad dreams away.

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Kite Flyer



I cannot see the man in the moon
Though I've tried with all my might
So I made my own man in the moon
And put him on my kite!

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Modern Art Fish











This is a modern art fish,
A line and a shape or two.
If it looked more like a fish
Would it be modern to you?

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Apprehensive



Apprehensive is a big word to say
My brain does not want me to go this way.

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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Too Fast!










If you go too fast, everything gets blurry!


~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

The Elephant







Front or back,
Right or left,
Up or down,
Happy or sad,
Smart or stupid,
Young or old,
Nobody sees the same elephant.

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Flatware
















Fork and spoon,
Spoon and Knife,
I dreamed my flatware
Came to life!


~ Poem and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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© All Rights Reserved

Chester







Chester is a happy dog.
He likes to eat submarine sandwiches.





~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
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© All Rights Reserved

Bearly






My teddy bear
Is barely there,
That’s cause
He tiptoes
Everywhere.



~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

Trunked!



            Ye Gads! I've got a trunk!


Sometimes we don't know
what we really look like
until we look in the mirror.

~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved

My Heart Is Blue



When I am sad
My heart is blue.
Does this ever
Happen to you?




~ Words and artwork by Russ Allison Loar
~ Click on image to enlarge
© All Rights Reserved