Liz, a friend of mine, grew up in a small, Midwestern farming community. Here, every year, Santa made the rounds--church, 4H, City Hall, Christmas parade, school. He even visited the homes of the neighbor kids. Liz was always amazed that Santa actually knew who she was and even called her by name, asking how that new lamb was getting along or if she like that new play-kitchen set. After a while, Liz decided that Santa may work at the North Pole, but he lived in her town.
As she got older, Liz visited the big city nearby and was surprised to see that Santa had helpers. But how foolish those kids were, thinking that the helpers were the real Santa. They didn't look anything like the real Santa.
When Liz reached a certain age, she discovered the truer identify of Santa. But that really didn't matter, because whether or not he was dressed up, his eyes still twinkled and his kindness never wained.
Liz has fond memories of Santa. Even though her home is far and years away, her recollections of Christmas intertwine with Santa's warmth and care.
When children see us, hopefully they too will see reflections of incarnated Love.