May All Good Wishes Come True

I’ve never been a religious person, despite being conceived in “Concepción” (a city in Chile named for the Immaculate Conception), then born in “San Pablo” (named for St. Paul the Apostle) to a mother from “Los Angeles,” and then baptized with the name Evangelia (Evangel in English) in honor of my Greek grandmother, Evangelia.

I confess, I’ve been irreverent toward the church, its patriarchy, and antiquated views—especially its judgements on who must be deemed sinners. Maybe it’s because they’ve raised large sums of money to fund egregious wars, or its priests have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar or, worse, on a child’s body parts. Or perhaps it’s how they give special favor and high honors to their biggest donors, turning a blind eye to how those donors came by their money.

Still, I recognize the need for people to cling to an institutionalized god, one that rules through old texts and speaks through mortal men who wear a white collar and imagine themselves to be holy one day. But for me, God is more of a Santa Claus who purposefully visits us to lavish us with wonderful things—and not just on Christmas.

In my life, Saint Nick is very much into my daily business, an intruder so to speak who, without me seeking or cultivating his presence, drops off enriching gifts that magically appear through serendipity or from the unexpected loving-kindness of friends. And based on this ongoing experience, I can say with confidence that, yes, call him Santa or call her God, Buddha, Shiva, or Allah, s/he is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, and knows whether I’ve been naughty or nice.

Being the eve before Christmas, children around the world are hoping their wishes will come true regardless of how they behaved. They still believe in magic, and love, and all good things coming their way. I sit in solidarity with them. Though I’m long passed childhood, I still have the joy and privilege of sitting in Santa’s comforting lap. Every day, invisible as he is, I know his ear is tilted toward hearing my wishes and making my dreams come true. I hope this is true for you, too.

As a peace advocate, I made a pledge to uplift my tribe every Sunday through the end of the holiday season with a special piece of music that’s brought me peace or has advocated for peace. For Christmas Eve, I’m sharing this beautiful version of “Oh Holy Night,” sung by Maverick City Gospel Choir. Watching it is a sermon on being moved by the spirit.

Merry Christmas to you all, and may all your good wishes come true!

Well Street

I share your irreverence toward organized religion. As a child, I watched my grandparents write many checks to televangelist con men who happily took seniors' retirement money so they could live opulent lifestyles.

Thank you for sharing your perspective of God as a loving Santa who brings gifts of love throughout the year, and for this moving version of O Holy Night.

Slipstream

I like thinking that Santa is with us 24/7. It puts a sweet, positive spin on everyday life and its challenges knowing that Santa's there to help us through it all.

This version of O Holy Night is amazing. The lead singer's voice is angelic, and chills took over my whole body when the choir came in.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and this glorious piece of music.

p.s. The photo is so adorable...