Will Santa Claus be the next culprit in a mass spreading of Covid-19? Is it really safe for him to be going house to house, possibly collecting germs from countless families, and infesting the masses with the pandemic? CNN recently published a video starring Dr. Fauci, who assures children (who were clearly coached to ask these questions and similar ones) that Old Saint Nick has received the vaccine.
Some children in the video appear to be truly anxious and worried about Santa catching something, or even possibly bringing the virus back home to Mrs. Claus. “Will he be allowed back into his home?” one child asks. For the most part, however, the major concern in the video is whether others could be infected by Santa, not whether he will return to the North Pole feeling alright.
Dr. Fauci exclaims, “I took care of this for everyone. I took a trip up to the North Pole and gave Santa the vaccine myself.” He also notes that Santa’s “immunity level” is perfect; there is no need to worry.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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Brief observation may show a cute way to teach children that Santa will be safe; but what is really behind this train of reasoning?
This latest example of paranoid virus propaganda has been in the making for almost a year now. The multitudes have been engrained to look at every masked Other as a suspect, and any person who encroaches within ten feet of our personal space as a possible threat. What we’ve really experienced is the mass hysteria of leprosy. Everyone and anyone who doesn’t agree to the Faucian bargain—never shake hands again, visit no one on Christmas and Thanksgiving, don’t question in any way the vaccine or Covid statistics—deserves to be cast out from “the ones who follow the science.”
Lepers were the outcasts, the “untouchables”, in the society of Jesus’ time. (In many parts of the world where the disease isn’t adequately treated, they still are.) They were forced to wear bells around their necks to signal that they were entering a town to draw water or beg for food.
Mr. Claus, too, is known for ringing some bells upon his entrance and exit of homes. Yet nobody could’ve imagined that someone might compare his tidings of great joy and gift-bearing with the loathsome toll of the leper’s bell—an omen of disease and death. Such is the way of things in this never-ending Covidtide.
One thing hasn’t changed, however. This year, like every year, the true reason for the season is always forgotten. Christ is born among us at Christmas in order to tear down the divides between the poor and the rich, the weak and the mighty, the outcasts and elites. God Himself chose to enter the world in the house of a carpenter, and was born in a manger because His mother was turned away from the Bethlehem Inn.
Christmas is meant to show us that our fellow man isn’t an enemy to be feared, but a soul to be welcomed and cared for.
So make sure to leave Santa and his reindeer some cookies, milk and carrots this year. In fact, leave some extra—and do so with intentional care. Some would politicize and control even these most sacred of days. Answer their ways with the manner of the Child born in a stable—the One who enters our mess and never runs from it—who doesn’t flee from the lepers, but embraces them with arms wide open.