NAUGHTY OR NICE
We all grew up with the concept. Be good and Santa will bring you what you want. The legend goes that if you were naughty you get a lump of coal in your stocking.
Where did that even come from? No doubt it evolved from man-made religious impositions, misinterpretations that have always plagued humanity. The goodness of life is to be earned. You know, be good, get good – be bad, get bad.
It has nothing to do with the story of St Nick, and our souls really know that’s not true. We know very well, and see it every day, tragedy happening to good people. But our brains from very young toddlers are so programmed with good girl / bad girl, to the point we impose it on our children, and the joy of Christmas.
But if you know the real story of St. Nicholas, he was a man that simply stepped out in kindness for poor children, who were not poor because they were bad children, but nonetheless would have nothing for Christmas, the family with nothing to celebrate the birth of Jesus. He simply followed his heart and from apparent, inherited wealth, began giving gold coins to children simply out of compassion not because he somehow knew they were “good” children. That evolved in to pitching the coins through windows of homes where children lived. The centuries-old true story says that on a particular night, a coin fell into a sock that was hung to dry, and so goes our beloved tradition of stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
Somehow the magical story of St. Nick, a part of the most generous, loving, compassionate time of year became twisted and intertwined with judgments and fear tactics set into the hearts of children who only deserve to know the love, generosity and compassion of the season. Think about it, the joy of Christmas, the purity of compassionate giving and love being used to control behaviors.
What are your memories of how you were reminded to “be a good girl or Santa won’t come see you?” I remember being told, “you just might get a lump of coal in your stocking.” Of course, I knew that wasn’t going to happen, but even though I didn’t realize it then, it was a way of telling me I was being “bad.” It wasn’t harsh or anything, I just realize now that I, and I’m sure all of us, were programmed to be “good,” and consequently assess everything, judge everyone from a “good person,” “bad person” mindset.
The thing is, I imposed this on my own children with no awareness of what I was doing. After all, it was the beloved traditions of Santa, right? How could such cherished traditions end up being one of the deepest soul wounds we all are left living with – shame?
It’s only been within the last ten years of my life that I began to understand just how entrenched and bound in “good girl” thinking I was. But now I understand that the “have you been a good girl?” imposition on the wonders of Christmas is a very deep root.
How could I have worked so hard to break free from judging myself or anyone else “good” or “bad,” but not see that the most joyous time of year is wrought with it? Awakening is a glorious thing isn’t it?
And it is just that, and only that, an awakening, seeing more clearly. I CAN PROMISE YOU, many of you are judging yourself right now because you simply did what the rest of us have done and passed this to your children as well. YOU ARE NOT “BAD.” You have simply been given a gift, an opportunity to possibly embrace the magic of Christmas and the truth of unconditional love and compassion.
No more shame,