From whence he came and where he goes is not clear with the precision of science or the proof or artifact. One thing which can be deduced is that Santa Claus is a master of the art of wandering. For Santa, the road, his road, is not a line between places, a place of its own. Since most of us cling to a mainly instrumental view of the road, we really don’t know what it is to be travelers, and we are tourists, sitting still and watching the world speed past , when in fact we are the ones who are speeding and it is the world that is still, for those who possess the capacity for stillness.
Unlike Santa, we, for the most part are too enamored for destinations, and hunger too much for arrival. Christmas would cease to exist if Santa treatred the voyage as an interval between meanings, an interregnum between dispensations. Part of the lesson of Christmas is not to be blinded to this richness of meanings and dispensations in the road itself. If departure is the past, according to Saint Nicholas, and arrival is the future; then the road, the voyage, is the present, and there is nothing more spiritually difficult , or spiritually rewarding , than learning to live significantly in the present.
For Santa Claus, his voyage is an emblem of immensity: the p[ath he follows and the horizon into which it disappears is the promise of a release, which is the promise of a horizon, which is the promise of a release. From the stretch of even the most ordinary road, to the most disadvantaged soul, Santa can lead us to infer a suggestion of infinity. Santa is a wanderer, a figure who recognizes the gift of alienation. This preference to wander, has some resemblance to preachers and singers, as if itinerancy refreshes and expands his spirit. The Christmas season, Santa’s gig, is an opportunity for him to gain distance- which is a gain- and to observe more; to do it differently and better; maybe even to get it right.
Santa as wanderer may be weary, but so is the person plumply at home, the stationary individual, the undiversified citizen , the solvent native, the human who lives in the illusion that he knows all he needs to know as sees all he needs to see. Santa is an enigmatic figure, in the final analysis, as we know of him, but little about him, but a well-place Elf has said on anonymity that Santa’s peregrinations are not easily explained; something to do with the championing of impatience and fleetingness and an urge for leaving and roving. Nothing like a global itinerary to vindicate his belief in evanescence. It has to be admitted, there is an element of conviction to these far-flung passings-through.
How My Mother Gave Up Drinking Gin by John Keats:
Christmas eve of Fifty-Seven my mother gave up drinking gin.
She kicked me out into the snow and wouldn’t let me in.
“Freeze your pagan keister M
You can stay outside till Easter making fun of Bishop Sheen!”
She was drinking Christmas cocktails with my Uncle Joe
Who had drunk up all the whiskey. He denied it but I know.
They had run flat out of vermouth and you know just what that yields:
The telling of the Awful Truth while smoking Chesterfields.
Uncle Joe confessed to Mama and told her he was gay.
My Mama said “Oh, no you’re not and what an Awful Thing to say.”
I was watching TV and said “Look there Uncle Joe!
He acts just like you do sometimes!” Joe just said “I know.”
I pounded on the door and wept “Oh, mama I will freeze!”
Then slipped and fell on the front porch steps and fell down to my knees.
I raved and begged and then I prayed. Then gave a little shout.
When a gentle voice behind me said “Now, what’s this all about?”