I saw Santa Claus today.
He wasn't quite what I expected.
I was raised with images of a jolly rotund cliche clad in red from head to toe and sporting white whiskers.
But the Santa Claus I saw didn't have any whiskers, nor was he wearing red. He had a simple tan jacket and a black cap, and he was on the slim side. But I knew it was him right away.
There were two women struggling to lift a heavy parcel into the back of their car, and they were obviously coming to the ends of their ropes. And then he appeared and lifted the box easily into the car, put a finger to his cap, and walked away unceremoniously.
People are quick to say that Santa is an invention of toy manufacturers and retail outlets, but that is not true. Some say that Santa takes away from the "reason for the season," the birth of Christ. Also not true.
I say that Santa is one of the truly pure things left in this Holiday season. Not plastic effigies of St. Nick that dot front yards, and not the character with a list that is used as a threat for misbehaving children. The Spirit of the season is manifest in the person of Santa Claus, and Santa Claus exists everywhere.