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The Spirit of Santa Claus
Is Alive and Strong

By Dr. Peter W. Kujtan, B.Sc., M.D., Ph.D.

Article printed on page 26 in the December 19, 2012 issue of
The Mississauga News under the feature: Health & Beauty, Medicine Matters.
Portrait of Dr. Peter W. Kujtan, supplied 2005
Dr. Peter W. Kujtan

As we enter this wondrous Christmas Season, it is marred by a black cloud of tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Parents are planning funerals and looking for sense in this tragedy. It is only by looking beyond the senselessness that any chance of understanding exists. It is in the communal outpouring of support and prayer that anything resembling a Christmas Spirit starts to emerge.

I detest the profit-driven commercialism that dominates this time of year, and it's because I believe in Santa Clause! I tend to inquisitively stare deep into the eyes of patients, friends and strangers, and wonder if they see him too. He rejuvenates my soul during the shortest bleakest days of the year. Take a moment and contemplate what it means to be alive, and what a precious gift that claim truly is. Without challenges and hardships, we could not fully appreciate the joys of achievement and contentment. In my world, Santa appears every time I see a communal spirit of caring, aid or volunteerism such as the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. When families and friends rally around an ill or needy person, Santa appears in the calmness that ensues. When I see groups of volunteers rebuilding schools, manning soup kitchens, preparing churches for Christmas celebration, traveling afar to defend our values, proves that the spirit of Santa is alive and strong. I find myself working this Christmas season, and salute those that sacrifice special family time to keep our community running.

My wish for you is that the first comment of each day be a positive one. One of the most effective medicines that I know is laughter. I have seen it heel deep wounds and restore fractured souls. You are wonderfully unique. No one will ever know that, unless you share your thoughts and ideas. Share your feelings devoid of opinion with loved ones. Don't assume that they just know of your love. Criticism is a plentiful commodity and seemingly free. The hidden price is emotional destruction. Simply avoid it. Whether you are born here or arrived here from another land, learn to appreciate the greatness of what this land has to offer. One of the greatest gifts that I have witnessed people squander is called potential. The ability to persevere, succeed and fail all depends on potential.

Learn to recognize that you are surrounded by family, and it extends into thousands. A true appreciation of this concept goes far beyond genetic linkages and dysfunctions. A friend once defined Christmas dinners as an annual event to revisit and refine family dysfunction. I urge you to travel beyond that anticipation, and look at why this event repeats itself over generations. You may discover spirits within us attempting to reconnect with primordial bonds that define time itself. People congregate for similar reasons. The bonds that bind us need to be celebrated. Embrace, revel in and build on this concept. To discover why you sit breaking communal bread, look beyond the table and not across it. Let people know about the good you see in them. It is they who will make you a better person. Merry Christmas and God bless!

Related resources:

Find the Real Santa Claus: Following St. Nick from the Mediterranean to the North Pole by Tony Evans, Express Staff Writer, Idaho Mountain Express and Guide.

Is there a Santa Claus? - A physicist view from PhysLink. (Quoted from SPY Magazine, January 1990).

Who Is St. Nicholas? From St. Nicholas Center.

St. Nicholas Around the World from St. Nicholas Center.

Is There a Santa Claus? Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus - Francis Church's Answer from the Editorial Page of the New York Sun, 1897.

Is There a Santa Claus? from the Funny Pages.

Is There a Santa Claus? Harley Hahn's Answer, 1997.

Santa Claus from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Daddy...is there really a Santa Claus? from About.com.

The Claus That Refreshes from Urban Legends, Snopes.com - It was Coca-Cola's magazine advertisements, billboards, and store displays that exposed nearly everyone in America to the modern Santa Claus image, but Coca-Cola didn't invent him.

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