My Father Christmas Passed Away


My Father Christmas passed away
When I was barely seven.
At twenty-one, alack-a-day,
I lost my hope of heaven.

Yet not in either lies the curse:
The hell of it’s because
I don’t know which loss hurt the worse
… My God or Santa Claus.

Robert William Service

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2 Responses to My Father Christmas Passed Away

  1. Sufiya says:

    I am uncertain here whether what is meant that “Jesus has as much substance as Santa Claus” but I will assume that is the case, due to the nature of the included poem…

    The invariable problem is that people conflate “God” with “religion”; thus when they lose faith in the “path” they then “throw out the baby with the bathwater” i.e. they discard the concept of “God” along with everything else, instead of saying to themselves ‘There has to be a BETTER WAY to get to God!”

    God’s existence is never in doubt at any time: the Universe itself stands in mute testimony to the immanent and eternal presence of the Great Architect, but the validity of the paths to the Divine can be dubious at best; one must never forget Carl Jung’s statement that “religion exists to PREVENT us from having an experience of God!” He was, of course, referring to exoteric Christianity, and indeed it is a fact that blind and unthinking adherence to the doctrines of Judaeo-Christianity will in fact prevent such a thing! in fact that is exactly what it is designed to do! Thus it comes as NO surprise that so many people have thrown off its chains and now proclaim themselves “atheists”. But what if there actually WAS ‘a better way”? What if “direct contact with the Divine Presence” was a reality accessible to all?

    I can say for a fact that it IS a reality and is certainly within the grasp of those willing to put time and effort towards it. As the great saint Shri Ramakrishna put it to the youthful Vivekananda, who had asked “Is it possible to see God? “:

    ” God can be attained, can be seen and His presence known…People weep gallons of tears over their spouses, their children, and all manner of earthly objects… but who weeps because he cannot attain to God? If you long for God so ardently that the tears run from your eyes, then know that God will appear to you very soon!”

    I myself applied the methods of Shri Ramakrishna, and I can say from my own experience that they are most efficacious: I now have “certainty, not faith, while in life”.

    • motleydragon says:

      Hello Sufiya

      Thank you very much for your thoughtful and eloquent response.

      I think the poem is a rebuke to the way our culture trivializes both the nativity narrative and the old European traditions of the winter solstice. Both Christ and Santa have become pawns in the overwhelming commercialization of “Christmas”.

      The Christmas creche and the nativity pageant are no longer reminders of anything sacred… they are overladen and undermined by mindless sentimentality and “kitsch”. Santa, as we know it, was created as an advertising spokesperson for Coca Cola! (blog to come)

      For children to learn that Santa is not real is often their initiation into the cruel fact that grown-ups, including their parents, are capable of either being terribly wrong or of lying to them. Some children, and their parents, may continue the game for years, promoting a cynical hypocrisy in the name of greed. How terrible!

      In any event, facing Christmas with belief in neither, refusing to be manipulated, is very difficult. I am a stranger in my own culture.

      It is wonderful that you have found certainty. I would wish you every blessing of the season, if that were not open to misunderstanding… I mean that I wish you only good things, and that your certainty will bring you happiness.


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