A few years ago, I had the opportunity to watch Disneyland’s Christmas parade (held nightly inside the park during the Christmas season), and was intrigued to hear Santa Claus inquire of the audience several times, shouting from the back of his sleigh like a tent-revival preacher, “Do you believe in the magic of Christmas?” While this is surely just a folksy expression of seasonal merriment mixed with shameless self-promotion by Disney, I cannot help but think that the ubiquitous appeal to “the magic of Christmas” is a popular expression of faith that has somehow missed the mark. Children everywhere are taught from an early age to believe in folk myths which are not at all supported by the doctrine of their religion, and are fully expected to discover their untruth, almost on schedule, much like a rite of passage. And adults are even enjoined to maintain some semblance of belief —in the “spirit of Christmas”—not so much to promote the charitable and pious spirit behind Christmas, so much as to buoy their purchasing proclivities through the holidays.
In the end, it is almost as if the insistence of belief in the "sacraments" of Christmas has become somewhat like a Christian creed, more important than the piety that the historical Saint Nicholas tried to spread. And so in succumbing to this [speaking tongue in cheek of course], I urge you all to accept, memorize, and recite yearly this creed, much like the “Apostles’ Creed” that many of you remember from your Sunday school days. If you do not accept this creed, you will all be condemned to an eternity of stockings filled with lumps of coal. And if you do not believe in the magic of Christmas, you will all be damned to a life without Rankin-Bass animated television Christmas specials.
We believe in one Santa Claus, All-knowing,
Maker and bringer of toys,
And in Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,
Who was born to Donner and Mrs. Donner,
Rejected by the other reindeer,
Traveled with his friends to the Island of Misfit Toys,
And suffered under the Abominable Snowman;
But returning to Christmas Town one foggy night,
Was redeemed by Santa,
And now guides the sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer, delivering gifts in only one night,
To those deemed worthy by Santa, who judges the naughty and the nice.
We believe in the magic of Christmas,
The residence at the North Pole,
Entry through the chimney,
The role of the elves,
Frosty the Snowman,
And in the twice-checked list, infallible.