I know what you're thinking. It's January, you've New Year's resolutions to break, and you're nervously waiting for your credit card bill to arrive. Why on Earth is someone writing an article about Santa Claus? The short answer is: I've had a revelation.
Two weeks ago I published my exclusive interview with Santa Claus here on The Huffington Post: "I'm Gay and I'm Quitting the North Pole." Santa says "hi," by the way, and would like to thank everyone for the messages of support he's received since his big announcement. While the interview itself was generally well received, it was not without its detractors. I was particularly bruised by comments that claimed that my piece was "an attack on Christian traditions." It was only when I finished wiping the tears from my eyes that I reached for my Bible, something I always do in moments of personal anguish. I thought about the Christian traditions my critics were referring to and began to thumb through. What did Jesus have to say about Santa Claus, I wondered?
To my astonishment I could not find a single reference to Santa Claus in the 1,552 pages of my 400th Anniversary Edition King James Bible. Oddly, Jesus was also silent on the issue of homosexuality. Surely a mistake had been made? Just then I remembered reading about something called The New Testament Apocrypha, a collection of texts once considered for inclusion in the Bible, but which in the end were excluded for not having been "divinely inspired." It was there in the frequently overlooked First Epistle of Clement that I found an account of Jesus' first meeting with Santa Claus. I reproduce it for you here:
1 Clement 2:16-42
And lo, it came to be that Jesus and his disciples were tucked up, separately, in their beds one cold winter's night. They did not share beds, for that would have been an abomination. All of a sudden Jesus awoke from his slumber, believing that he had heard the distant sound of sleigh bells. He ventured yonder to his window and surveyed Jerusalem, yet could not see whate'er it was that made such sleighing sounds.
All of a sudden there was a crack from the fireplace. Jesus spun around. He picked up a broom and held it forth menacingly, for like Moses he was handy with a staff. To his amazement an old and bearded man dressed in red and white stepped forth from the fireplace and did address him.
"Ah, there you are," said Santa Claus, "I've been looking for you."
"Who art thou?" exclaimed an astonished Jesus.
"Why, I'm Santa Claus," said Santa Claus, "and I have some questions about the list you sent me about what you'd like for Christmas."
"What is this Christmas of which ye talk?" asked Jesus.
"What's Christmas?" laughed Santa, holding his belly in his hands. "Why, it's the most magical time of the year. It's the second most important Christian festival after Easter. Christmas celebrates the birth of, Jesus Christ. Your birth!"
"What then does Easter celebrate?" asked Jesus, looking confused.
"I'd rather not go into that," said Santa. "Look, I'm not meant to do this, but your writing really is atrocious. I could barely make out some of the things you've asked for. I figured we could just go down to my sleigh now and you can simply pick what you want from what's there."
And so it was that Jesus accompanied Santa to his sleigh, whereupon he did meet the reindeer known as Rudolph.
"I really should feed him," sighed Santa, "But I'm guessing you don't have any roasted chestnuts. They're his favourite."
"Oh, ye of little faith," laughed Jesus and he did pick up five stones from the ground and lo, they did turn into chestnuts and he did feed them to Rudolph, and lo, they were delicious.
"So, take your pick," said Santa. "Have you already got an iPad? They're very popular these days."
"This is how you celebrate Christmas?" asked Jesus. "You deliver merchandise to children down a chimney on a magical sleigh with magic reindeer?"
"Well, yes." replied Santa, sounding more than a little embarrassed.
"And how does that honour my Father?" asked Jesus.
"It doesn't really, does it?" conceded Santa, "But it's terribly good for boosting retail sales. Not all children get presents, though, only the good boys and girls."
Jesus stood back, aghast. "All children are equal in my Father's eyes," said Jesus. "My Father is a loving and forgiving God. From this day forth let all children receive Christmas presents whether they have been good, bad, or otherwise morally indifferent..."
"Very well." said Santa.
"But not the gay children." added Jesus.
"I'm sorry?" said Santa thinking he had misheard him.
"Do not give the gay children good presents. For even though my Father is a loving and forgiving God and made man in his own image, the gay children must be punished for what is obviously a lifestyle choice. Give them socks, for no child likes to unwrap socks on Christmas morning..."
"Right," said Santa, furiously scribbling on his notepad, "Socks. Got it!"
"And gift cards," Jesus added.
"Gift cards?" sighed Santa. "They make for a very boring present."
"Exactly," said Jesus.
"Forgive me, Jesus, but the whole anti-gay thing doesn't seem terribly, well... Christian." Santa explained.
"Peter shall be the rock upon which I build my church," said Jesus, "and it will be a very angry church that will attract a lot of angry people who will need to feel enraged from time to time."
"And why is that?" asked Santa, puzzled.
"Angry people donate more money than happy, contented people," said Jesus, "and my church will need money to grow."
"Right," said a slightly disgruntled Santa, "I've heard enough. I'd best be off." With that he climbed into his sleigh and readied his reindeer. "Enjoy Easter," he said and sped off into the night sky.
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