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A Right Jolly Old Elf

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My favorite Santa gig

Michael Rielly

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As I mentioned in previous posts, I don't do many appearances during the season. Four to five gigs a season are about it for this Santa. This is partly due to the fact that I am particular in the appearances I make, but mostly due to time constraints with my regular job – my "Clark Kent" persona if you will.

I feel that each of my appearances as Santa is a "gift" and I have often said that if I ever felt being Santa was "work", that I would not enjoy doing it as much. That is not to say that I don't stress a bit before each appearance. I am always a little nervous before each appearance. But only because I want to be the very best Santa I can be.

My favorite appearance of the season and the one I stress over the most, is Christmas Eve. Each year, Santa takes a few minutes from his busy schedule to stop by Saint Mary's Church during Christmas Eve Mass.

Saint Mary's has to be one of the most beautiful Catholic Churches in New England. Built in 1855, the Gothic style church is over 150 years old! It has been my Parish since I was born, so I am always honored to be able to address the Parishioners on Christmas Eve.

Each Christmas Eve, Santa stops in to say a few words on the true meaning of Christmas. Santa has even been known to lead the Parishioners in a round of Happy Birthday to our Lord.

Last year, Santa spoke about the symbols of Christmas and their meaning. Here is what Santa spoke to the Parishioners last Christmas Eve.

Father begins Homily

Father: Well each year, I ask Santa to stop by but it looks like he was too busy this year…

Santa quietly enters from behind Father at podium while Father is talking. Santa "sneaks" up to Father gesturing to everyone to be quiet. Father notices Santa is there.

Santa: Merry Christmas Father! Thank you for inviting me back again this year. Oh, by the way, I've gotten a few letters from the parishioners this year on your jokes.

Father: Oh, really? Did they say they liked them?

Santa: Hmmmm. Well, not exactly. I hope you don't mind, but I asked my elves to pick out a new joke book for you. Perhaps this will help.

Father: Thank you Santa!

Santa: Ho! Ho! Ho! Oh you are very welcome! Father, would mind if I said a few words to everyone?

Father: Oh, please do!

Santa: Ho! Ho! Ho! Thank you very much!

Well as you know each year Father asks me to stop by and say a few words about the true meaning of Christmas. This year I thought I do something a little different. This year I would like to talk a little bit about some of the symbols of Christmas. It occurred to me that we see Christmas symbols all around us every year around this time. But do we ever stop and think about what they mean?

Santa reaches into his bag and pulls out a wreath


We see wreaths everywhere this time a year. We see them on doors, windows, hanging on posts. But have you ever stopped to think what the wreath means? The wreath symbolizes God's love for us. It has no beginning and no end. It represents the crown of thorns worn by Jesus and the red holly berry represents the blood He shed for us.

Santa reaches into his bag and pulls out an angel


Angels announced glorious news of Jesus' birth and the Angel Gabriel that told Mary that she was to give birth to the son of God.


Santa reaches into his bag and pulls out a candy cane


Candy canes represent the shepherd's crook. The same shepherds in the field that were told by the angels of the coming of our Lord.

Santa reaches into his bag and pulls out a star


God promised a Savior for the world. The star was the sign of fulfillment of His promise and it was the star that lead the three wise men to manger.

Santa reaches into his bag and pulls out a candle


We see a lot of candles this time of year - This is an electric candle, but years ago people put real candles in their windows. They even put candles on Christmas trees. Only Father Barry and I remember that. Ho! Ho! Ho! Of course these days we use Christmas lights. We see these lights everywhere! People decorate their homes with all sorts of lights. The lights symbolizes that Christ is the light of the world and when we see these lights we are reminded that is it Jesus who fills our lives with light.

Santa reaches into his bag and pulls out a wrapped gift


We all exchange gifts this time of year, but how often do we stop to think about what the gifts are a symbol of? The wise men brought the first Christmas Gifts. They brought baby Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gift reminds us of the gift that God gave us - His only Son.


Santa reaches into his bag and pulls out a small Christmas Tree


We all know what this is, don't we? A Christmas Tree – Oh and it is a Christmas Tree, not a Holiday or Seasonal Tree. We decorate our Christmas Trees with ornaments. They represent the gifts. We decorate our Christmas Trees with lights. They represent the candles. And the needles of the tree point towards heaven.

Santa reaches into his bag and pulls out a toy Santa


Ho! Ho! Ho! We certainly know what this is! We see Santa's image everywhere! Christmas cards – movies – television - soda cans! But always remember, that Christmas is not about me. I am only a servant of the Lord. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus - our Lord and Savior.


Santa checks his watch

Jumping Jingle bells! Look at the time! I've got to be going! Before I go, let me wish you all a very merry Christmas and a blessed new year!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


Well, that was Christmas Eve 2006. I am looking forward to 2007!




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