I should like to have you consider with me the very famous text: "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." What we want to see here to day is that this text is presenting to us a "DECLARATION CONCERNING SANTA CLAUS." In this declaration are three movements,
First, THE BACKGROUND FOR THE COMING OF SANTA CLAUSE;
Second, THE ARRIVAL OF SANTA CLAUS;
Third, THE DESCRIPTION OF SANTA CLAUS
I. THE BACKGROUND OF THE COMING OF SANTA CLAUS
So listen carefully as I begin exploring this text with you. The text begin, "'Twas the night before Christmas...." Immediately notice what the writer has said here. He let's us know right away that it was the night before CHRISTMAS! A very special holiday. You see, it would not do in this story if the background indicated it was the night before Thanksgiving or the night before Mother's Day. No, this was the night before Christmas! Of course if we change the emphasis from the word Christmas to the word 'before,' that also adds an important detail to our story. This was not just any night prior to Christmas. It wasn't one of the 12 days of Christmas. It was THE NIGHT BEFORE.
Having given us that important background concerning the time, the writer continues to set the scene. Watch in your mind's eye as he continues, ".... when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, Not even a mouse;" Now some of you may be surprised to find out that something you have always assumed about this story isn't supported by the text. You may have supposed this story was taking place in the Clement Moore home. This passage indicates that is not true. Think about it. "not a creature was stirring?" The Moore's had six children. For not one of them to be stirring on the night before Christmas would be impossible! On top of that, it is now known that mice were running all over the Clement home.
Notice the detail the author added, "The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, they'd been worn two weeks and needed the air." No, that's a joke. That last part of the line does not have good manuscript support. The preferred reading is, "In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while vision of sugar plums danced in their heads." This is actually a very tender and meaningful picture that has lost much in translation. There's a word in there that is not at common as it once was. The word "nestled" probably doesn't communicate as it used to when this was written and had a different meaning all together.
You see, this word "Nestled" is an old German word, usually used in connection with chocolate. We all know that chocolate connotes warmth. If you want to give the feeling of a warm brown color you call it chocolate brown. When the writer said the children were "nestled" he was saying they were "chocolatey warm" in their beds. Isn't that tender and sweet?
The phrase, "vision of sugar plums" gives us a clue as to how young the children were. Had they been a little older they would have been having visions of something other than sugar plums.
Moving on from the author's focus on the children he begins describing the setting with the adults. "Mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap..." Now, they must have been wearing more, but that is all it says. We mustn't give in, here to the argument from silence. "Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutter and threw up the sash."
Now here, we have to go back to the original manuscript, for this really doesn't make sense as it is written. But we do have some help from the more ancient readings. It actually reads, "Threw up the HASH." Now that makes more sense, doesn't it. It was probably the Moore home after all and Clement's supper had not set well. Awakened by the noise, he realized he was nauseous and ran for the window.
"The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave a luster of midday to objects below; When what to my wondering eyes should appear , but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer, with a little old driver, so lively and quick I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick!"
With this passage we move way from the background and into part 2.
II. THE ARRIVAL OF SANTA CLAUS
Notice first of all, notice how detailed the writer keeps this and every part of the story is unified. There is MINIATURE sleigh, eight TINY reindeer, and a LITTLE old driver. wouldn't it have been ridiculous if it had been a huge sleigh and tiny reindeer, or a miniature sleigh, tiny reindeer and a giant of a man? Everything here is harmonized.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name." Isn't that tender... he knows them each by name! Not just, hey you out there, get up!" Or, "on team." No, each and everyone by name! Oh, how beautiful!
Now listen carefully here, "Now Dasher! Now Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen! On Come! On Cupid, on Donder and Blitzen!" We need to get it settled here once and for all.: There was no Rudolph. Just mark it down. Rudolph is a modernist lie that has been put into the story, no doubt by communists! (The significance of the Red nose saving the day!)
"To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall! Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!" We can see here that human nature hasn't changed much in all these years. Even back then creative writers had to give in to commercialism. It is a shame that Clement Moore had to insert this shameless soap ad in the middle of this sweet story.
"As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, So up to the housetop the coursers they flew..." Now here if you pay attention you'll notice the harmony again, "With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too." You don't have the reindeer on the roof with St. Nick left on the lawn or St. Nick on the roof with the sleigh and toys left below. Everything fits together.
"Then in the twinkling I heard on the roof, the prancing and pawing of each little hoof." This is where we are really glad they were TINY reindeer.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound!" And so now we conclude part 2 of this message and are ready for part 3,
III. THE DESCRIPTION OF SANTA CLAUS
It is important that you really concentrate here, because I known you've heard this familiar passage many times before as have I. But you still probably missed something. Notice what it really says.
"He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot..." Right off the bat, we have a fact overlooked in the artist's renditions. Are you listening? . It is not feet but foot. FOOT is in the singular. Santa Claus was a one legged man. Based on the historical background information, frost bite is the most likely culprit.
"His clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot...." The man is the bright and clean man we see the images of. He's dirty. "A bundle of toys he has flung on his back...." Now I ask you, what's a grown, old and dirty man with one leg doing running around with a bag full of toys? HE'S SENILE!
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack, His eyes how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!"
Now I ask you... why would a man have a red nose? It's because he's been hitting the bottle! In fact, the writer has given us a clue. Did you notice the reference to roses. Most likely Four Roses!
"His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard on his chin was white as snow" Can't you just picture him? One of those bearded, hippie types, no doubt. A totally unreliable character.
"The stump of his pipe he held in his teeth" What kind of pipe? From the looks of him and that beard, it was probably a marijuana pipe. "And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath." The dirty, alcoholic, hippie, pot-smoker.
"He had a broad laugh and little round belly, that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly." This is a polite authors way of saying the man was obese. (Our guess would a beer belly from the other evidence.)
"He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself" Who wouldn't if something like that showed up at your fireplace.
"A wink of his eye and twist of his head soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word," He was a rather unsociable fellow, not even talking with those around him. "but went straight to his work." Here we what was probably the only decent thing about him. At least he took his work seriously.
And filled all the stockings and turned with a jerk." It is most important watch the prepositions here. Notice that it doesn't say he turned TO a jerk. That would cast some disparaging upon the writer. Rather it says he turned WITH a jerk. Evidently he had a partner with him. And the writer openly referring to this partner as jerk tells you what kind of company Santa Claus kept.
"And laying a finger aside of his nose." Not cocaine, too? "And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, 'Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.'"
In conclusion we need to examine that last statement because it seems a word is missing. It says, "to all" but it doesn't say to all what? The textual critics have helped us out here and can show that what most likely happened is that in copying the diminutive form of the pronoun "you" has been dropped, and must be supplied by the reader. So it actually says, "Happy Christmas to y'all, and to y'all a good night." This proves that the notion of Santa Claus being from the North Pole is a myth. Since he said, "y'all," he was most certainly from the SOUTH Pole.