As it is for many this time of year, the Christmas season is a special one for Greg Seibold and his wife, Cassie, of Woodstock.
The couple attend First Presbyterian Church, where their four children – ages 10, 8, 6 and 3 – go to Sunday school.
For Seibold, a behavioral health job coach by trade and a poet at heart, the dichotomy of the season is something he’s been thinking about for a while.
As a Christian, he and his wife welcome the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
As an American, husband and father, he also enjoys the secular tradition of Santa Claus, gift-giving and the like.
As he listened to both secular and religious Christmas music and read Christmas stories and poems this season, he wondered whether any brought the two distinct figures – Jesus and Santa – together.
He couldn’t think of any.
“Jesus and Santa, they kind of have the same powers,” he said. “I just kept trying to rectify it. I said, ‘There’s got a be a way to figure this out.’ ”
As he was driving to work on Dec. 11, a poem came to him, he said.
“The scary thing is, I wrote it in the car,” the 47-year-old said. “It came at me so fast, I just wrote down the last word in each line so I could remember it. All the stoplights, I was scribbling away.”
When he got to his office, he took his notes from the car and wrote the entire poem. He called it, “When God Made Santa Claus.”
Seibold has been writing poetry, musical lyrics and other things since his high school days. But he never tried to have anything published. He posted the poem on his Facebook page, and “it took off,” he said. “I heard from some many people how much they loved it.”
So he decided it might be time to find a larger audience. He sent it to a couple of members of the area media, including me.
So today, on the eve of Christmas Eve, I turn my column over to Greg Seibold of Woodstock and his new poem:
When God Made Santa Claus
God gave his only son to be born
Into a world shattered and torn
On that day the Angels did sing
Crown him Lord above, King of Kings.
Into the world came Goodness and light
On that sacred and most holy night.
Later God watched the world become unstable
“I must remind them of that night in the stable.”
In the midst of wars and our collective flaws
That’s when God created Santa Claus.
God filled him with the gift of Christmas Spirit
Gave him a laugh so big all could hear it.
Gave him the gift of Christmas Joy
Shared with a child a brand-new toy.
Gave him the power to see every child everywhere
Anytime, anyplace, and anywhere.
This was to be a time for the kids to be good
And a time for the adults to do as they should.
Yes there was great cheers and applause
When God made Santa Claus.
But Santa will tell you the spirit of the season
Let Emmanuel’s birth be the foremost reason.
Wherever we see the Christmas lights
Let’s remember the light of Christ.
When we see the sturdy Christmas tree
Be mindful of His love that saved you and me.
With these gifts that we exchange
It’s only God’s love that can bring change.
He cleansed our sins with his death and tears.
His birth will be remembered for years and years.
Know that God doesn’t do anything just because.
God knew what he was doing when he made Santa Claus.
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In solidarity: A candlelight vigil will be held Thursday in Woodstock to focus attention on student safety and to show support for the Newtown, Conn., community.
McHenry County Board members Donna Kurtz and Jim Heisler asked Regional Superintendent of Schools Leslie Schermerhorn if she would help organize the vigil, and she was all for it.
The vigil will be from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Thursday on the Woodstock Square. The public is invited.
• • •
Happy holidays: I hope everyone has a safe and Merry Christmas. May all of your Christmas wishes be granted, and may you enjoy this special time with family.
• Dan McCaleb is senior editor of Northwest Herald. He can be reached at 815-526-4603 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @NWHeditor.