Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Settling A Score With Santa

By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published December 23, 2010

Dear Santa:

I hope you remember me. I’m the one who used to write you from that little turquoise house in southwest Miami, asking for the exact same thing every year.

Yes, it was a pony.

Frankly, Santa, I don’t know why I asked for a pony. We certainly didn’t have room in our yard what with all the citrus and mango trees. And the one time my parents took me for a ride at the pony ring, things went horribly wrong. I screamed in terror when the pony suddenly turned around and nipped me with its big yellow teeth.

You’d think that would have turned me off ponies forever, but no. For some reason I figured that if I had my very own pony, he’d be a lot nicer. Go figure.

Santa, if you check with your elves, you can verify that I never did get the pony. But, trust me: I’m not writing to demand retribution for all those Christmas mornings when I was so bitterly disappointed. All the times I pondered: Where did I go wrong?

I’ve gotten over those years of tears. I really have.

Santa, I’m writing to settle a very different score. You see, I’ve spotted you in the malls recently in your red-and-white regalia. I’ve seen you ho-ho-ho-ing with all those little kids climbing upon your lap, tugging at your beard and whispering in your ear about their deepest wishes.

And when the kids tell you just what they want, I’ve witnessed you prodding them for more details about their coveted toys and games. That’s fine, of course, but here’s what makes me nervous. It’s when you ask the little kids whether they’ve been good or bad.

Santa, forgive me if I’m overstepping my bounds here, but I’m worried about all the kids who ask for stuff they’ll never get. For some, it’s an electronic gizmo, for others a deluxe doll or a fancy bike with all the trimmings.

You see, when Christmas morning comes and they don’t find their hearts’ desires beneath the tree, they may reach a very wrong conclusion.

They may think it’s because they were bad.

With all due respect, Santa, I think you might want to tweak your message. After all, the economy is dwindling and many parents are out of work.  Plenty of kids may be disappointed this year, and next.

So Santa, please, would you remind kids that even if they don’t get everything on their list, it isn’t their fault? And, most of all, would you assure them that Jesus still loves them?

Thank you so much, Santa, for your kind attention to this matter.

Sincerely yours,

Lorraine Murray

P.S.  I really meant it when I said I’m over the pony.

Lorraine’s latest book is “Death of a Liturgist,” a laugh-filled mystery set at a fictional church in Decatur. Artwork for this column is by Jef Murray. Readers may e-mail the Murrays at