Believing in love, goodness and hope


it was in St. Dunstan’s school yard during recess when I was in grade two, that another boy told me: “there is no Santa Claus.”. At first I didn’t believe him.  At lunch I asked my mother: “is it true.”  She would not answer. So I started asking other kids, and they confirmed: “There is no Santa!”

How sad I felt on my first memory of disappointment. Shortly after we visited toy land on the fifth floor at Eaton’s store in downtown Toronto. There he was: Santa, asking kids what they wanted for Christmas.

It was soon after that I took notice of the crèche. Maybe that’s real. “Was Jesus really born in a stable,” I asked. “Of course He was,” my mother exclaimed. “Are angels real,” I inquired. Curious little kid, “stop asking so many questions, and eat your supper.”

Nobody seemed to want to talk about what was real or not real in those days, so I stopped asking, but never stopped wondering.

I have a confession to make. Every year, after it gets dark on Christmas Eve, I look up at the sky. I imagine what it would feel like to see his eight reindeer, or was it twelve, flying across the heavens on their way to sleeping children in far away lands.

Oh, but it’s only a fable I’m told. It makes my heart beat faster to think that there is mystery that we don’t fully understand. Now I think of Santa as a comforting father figure, kindly, friendly, caring: like God.

When Father Addley was Pastor at my parish Our Lady of Lourdes, I was pleasantly surprised one year to see a picture of Santa Claus on the rectory front door. At first I was shocked. “He’s not real, you know,” I wanted to say. “But, Oh no, he’s real alright, to the many people who believe in love, and goodness, and hope.”

Christmas is not about commercialism, it’s about the gift. It’s about the mystery we call Incarnation. May the magic of a baby’s face touch our heart this year, as we rejoice that the divine saw us worthy to share in the mystery of His Son.  Feliz Navidad

John Montague earned his Master of Divinity from Regis College, University of Toronto. He is an active member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. He has a Master of Social Work, and, until his retirement, provided counselling to individuals, couples, and families. For the past seventeen years he has organized a Day of Reflection for Catholic parents of lesbian daughters, gay sons, and transgendered children.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 01:34h, 19 December Reply

    Thank you John!

  • Peter Larisey
    Posted at 10:49h, 19 December Reply

    Happy Christmas John,

    Thanks for this blog that is a very convincing way of putting it all together.

    May you and your family have a great Christmas with Santa, and what he really means.


  • Philip Shano
    Posted at 16:00h, 20 December Reply

    Thanks so much John. It’s great to have these simple, yet powerful, memories of Christmas.

  • Karen Arthurs
    Posted at 09:28h, 28 December Reply

    We are all so human when we believe in love goodness and hope. Many of us take it for granted while others struggle. It is good that the gift of Christmas comes as the ongoing reminder of life and mystery. Thank you for your Christmas sharing.

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