So, rather than attempting to explain this “stretch of the imagination,” parents decide the children are better served by telling them the story of Santa Claus.
“Okay, kids, gather ‘round. I’m going to tell you a story that is very special for the Christmas Season. Are you, ready? Here we go.
“Once upon a time, there was a man named Santa Claus, and he lived at the North Pole.”
“Where’s the North Pole?” asks the little boy.
“Well,” you explain, “It’s actually at the very tip-top of the world, where it’s cold and snowy all year long.”
“Why would he wanna live there?” the little girl asks.
“Good question,” you assure her, “Because that’s where his toy factory is and all the elves live.”
“What are elves?”
“Elves are people about three feet tall that make all the toys and take care of the reindeer.”
“What’s a reindeer?” The little boy again.
“Reindeer are the kind of animal that fly Santa’s sleigh full of toys. They’re sort of like a small moose.”
“Moose can’t fly.”
“Yes, I realize that, but these are special reindeer that can fly.”
“So, they have very big wings, right?” The girl.
“Well, actually, they don’t have any wings at all,” you explain, “But, listen, that’s not the point. They can just fly, alright?”
“Sure,” they both nod in agreement.
“Okay, so on Christmas Eve, when all the toys are ready and the elves have loaded the sleigh with presents for good little boys and girls all over the world, Santa and his reindeer fly away to deliver them. You with me so far?”
“Good,” you continue, “So, now, Santa arrives at the first house, and the reindeer land on the roof with Santa and the sleigh full of toys.”
“Don’t the people hear him?”
“No, he’s very quiet. And he grabs the presents and slides down the chimney to deliver them. Isn’t that exciting?”
“So Santa is very skinny.” One of the little brats. Who cares which.
“Well, actually, Santa is quite fat. Jolly, but fat. And I know what you’re thinking, ‘Then how does he fit down the chimney?’ Right?”
“You weren’t wondering that?”
“No,” she states, “I was wondering why he doesn’t go in the front door. Chimneys are dirty.”
“I don’t know why he doesn’t! It’s just the way he does things. Now can we please go on?”
“Fine. So… Once Santa is done, he climbs back up the chimney and flies away to the next house, and so on, until he’s been at every house in the whole wide world!”
“What about the houses in Battle Creek?” the jerk wonders.
“Battle Creek?! Yes, of course, he goes to the houses in Battle Creek. I just said he goes to every house in the world. Don’t you ever listen to anybody?!”
“Daddy, we don’t like this story,” they both admit. “Can you please tell us another one? Please.”
So, you think for a moment, when suddenly you’re struck by Divine intervention.
“Okay, kids. Of course I can.”
And so you begin…
“Once upon a time, in a small village called Nazareth, a blessed woman named Mary was visited in a dream by an angel of the Lord…”
How about that.