I shouldn’t be thinking of Santa Claus in March. But, this picture I took in the desert behind my house was taken in October. Besides, I wanted to write something less heavy about language and words, their power to make a thing more itself, to make one thing another.
I showed this picture to my Elder, and he said, "Well, I guess no Christmas this year. Santa is dead." Which reminded by of Charles Harper Webb's poem, "The Death of Santa Claus."
For this post, I’m going to share an anecdote about Santa--
The Mojave word for Christmas is Nyevathii ivaak. The missionaries used Christmas day to lure Mojaves to church. They gave them fruit. They each got a piece of candy. Sometimes they even got a present.
Because Santa Claus was just as mysterious a white man as Jesus, the two saviors blurred together in their minds. Jesus was dead, they had been told, and Santa Claus appeared out of nowhere on the same day every year. Both Santa and Jesus seemed to have come from the sky, and they both kept ending up at the church. Hmmm. The conclusion: Santa Claus was the ghost of Jesus. Christmas in Mojave means The Ghost Came, means the ghost of Jesus is here in a red suit, and he’s got candy--he's Santa Jesus.