Sunday, 25 December 2016

Santa's mystery solved?

Father Christmas is mystery no more. While the Lord still works in mysterious ways, scientists have finally solved the question of how an overweight, loud and aged Saint Nicholas could deliver all the presents in one night, fit into a narrow chimney and maneuver undetected in the still of the night.
Thanks to Einstein, Dr Katy Sheen (from the geography department of the British college) applied the theory of relativity to unlock the time and speed factors of Kris Kringle's Christmas escapades. Here's how it works, and I am going a little rogue on the science.
Now, we all know that time and space is relative to that of the speed of light. So, according to Dr Sheen, "Santa Claus and his reindeer would have to travel at about 10 million kmh - more than 200,000 times faster than Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man - to deliver presents to every a span of 31 hours."
That's not all. The greater dilemma for the obese Mr Claus is the chimney. But as Santa approaches lightspeed, he takes on a more aerodynamic shape and he shrinks or gets thinner. That solves the weight issue. Then, how about his signature "Ho! Ho! Ho!" that would wake up the whole neighbour?
That's simple. Dr Sheen pins it down to the Doppler effect. Speed bends not just time and space, it also changes frequency - that is, sound waves - as the object approaches.
So, "as Santa Claus and his sleigh approach, the sound of bells and his deep "ho, ho, ho" would get higher and higher (like when an ambulance siren whizzes by) and then become completely silent, because he would move beyond human hearing range."
As an aside, for the philosophy student, so much for Occam’s razor (that is, when you have two explanations for a phenomenon, choose the simpler one). No one is thus going to die the cuts of a thousand qualifications here to explain that Santa Claus exists (aka Antony Flew).
Oops, you may ask: "How the heck is Santa going to travel that fast?" Dr Sheen sort of answered it. "Well, that's magic! However, he would certainly need a lot of fuel - so don't forget his glass of sherry, a mince pie or two, and some carrots for the reindeers!"
Lesson? ...
Alas, I am not going to lie to you guys anymore. I refuse to practise intellectual dishonesty. Santa Claus is a load of hogwash. He is as real as the fairies in the bottom of the pond or the little tiny teacup orbiting around the rings of Saturn.
But this doesn't change Christmas for us believers, right? They don't call it Christmas for nothing and the "Christ" in Christmas has to mean something right?
Maybe it has nothing to do with Einstein, the speed of light, or the Doppler effect. Maybe Christmas is about powers far greater than that, deeper and wider in effect.
Trust me, there is no magic in Christmas. No make-believe. No elves, pixie dusts or wishing wells. Christmas (not so much the day as it is the spirit of it) has always been about love. Love of family. Love of friends. Love of spouses and love of parents for their children.
And if we go behind the festivities, the champagne glasses, the presents, and the Christmas tree, Christmas is really all about relationship. More to the point, it is about a sacrifice that started it all.
There is therefore no magic in Christmas because Jesus needed no magic to demonstrate what his love means to the world. Yet far magical than magic, Jesus lived the most ordinary life to deliver the most extraordinary of transformations.
He was not intangible, a spirit or a hologram. He was no make-believe. He walked, talked and lived amongst the least of us. He is part of our history; not some fabled tale or rumored story.
Now, our Lord may work in mysterious ways, and he still does, but not Jesus. He came to redefine love, set the truth in our hearts, and burn a passion in us that would never die.
There are in fact three simple things that makes Christmas not only special but empowering: the towel and basin, the hearty supper and the Cross. The metanarrative in each of these things redefined and transformed the world.
And if you want to celebrate Christmas, whether you are a believer or not, you can't not talk about him, his teachings, his deeds, his sacrifice, his love. You may be hard-pressed to accept his claims, but you can't deny his acts, his heart and his impact.
No man I know came, existed and led with such clarity of purpose from birth to death, such humility of spirit from breath to breath, and such sacrifice of love from a heart that promises enduring rest.
So, this weekend, you can cut that juicy, stuffed turkey, slice into that bacon ham, and exchange the most expensive presents. But if you leave Christ out of Christmas, you leave out not a religious ritual in the celebration. You however leave behind the true meaning of Christmas, and that is, a love that gave all because it never gave up. Cheerz.

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