Finding ways to spread cheer

By BRENT MAZE,

On Saturday, I got a chance to spread a little Christmas cheer this season as I had the chance to play the Big Man himself, Santa Claus.

Yep, Newton Chamber director Emily Pugh asked me kindly to be the big man for a little while, and for a little while, I portrayed a much taller version of Santa Claus that is typically portrayed.

I have to report that I didn’t scare away too many kids. They all seemed to be OK around me. Actually, I think they liked being around Mrs. Claus more than me, and I don’t blame the kids.

Although I have to admit, it seems like there’s some truth to “The Santa Clause.” While I haven’t gained any weight or all of my hair has turned white or gray, it does seem like I’ve been called on to play the part of Santa at least once over the last three Christmas seasons.

Once I put it on for the first time at the request of then Newton Chamber director Leigh Whittle, it seems like I haven’t been able to escape the Santa suit.

And red isn’t really one of my colors anyway. I tend to prefer orange and blue over red, red that reminds me of Auburn’s Amen Corner rivals — Georgia and Alabama. I don’t mind the red, white and blue of Ole Miss or the maroon and white of Mississippi State. Despite my UAB education, I can even take the black and gold of Southern Miss, but red like that can make me feel like I’m going to break out.

Besides the color, I do enjoy being able to bring a smile to the faces of not only kids, but adults as well, even those that know who’s the man under the costume. But when you put on the suit, it’s hard not for people to smile.

And for justa single moment, they are reminded about the good things of Christmas. Santa isn’t about shopping, presents and commercialism of the holiday as it has become. Santa is a reminder about giving to each other.

Santa is based on the reputation of Saint Nicholas, who like many early Christians had a legendary habit of secret gift-giving.

Those of us who are Christians understand what it means to give and not ask for anything in return, as we have the perfect example of giving, Jesus Christ.

The Christmas season is supposed to be a season when we are supposed to slow down, spend time with our friends and family and reflect on the greatest gift of all. That gift isn’t found under a Christmas tree. It’s found in the child born in a manger.

So maybe let’s do our best to give each other good gifts. Let’s give kindness and joy this holiday season.

You don’t have to dress up like Santa to do it. You only need to say an encouraging word or give the world a smile.

Contact Brent at bmaze@-newtoncountyappeal.com.