"Santa may you help me with my family?"

Quote of the Day for Wednesday, December 15th, 2010:

From a USA TODAY article today by Donna Leinwand, discussing “Dear Santa” letters received this year at the main NCY Post Office:

A single mother of a girl, 8, and a boy, 2, wrote that she recently lost her job. "I am unable to buy my children toys and clothes," she said. "Santa may you help me with my family?"

It’s not that I lack sympathy for this young woman, or imagine this was anything less than a desperate act, but should we really be less than dumbstruck ourselves at the notion of adults writing letters to Santa? And according to the article, this is no anomaly.

I suppose it could be construed as a rational act if they have some reasonable expectation that someone like the Post Office workers in the article might actually read and respond to their request, but is this what we’re reduced to? Can their alienation from society – and God – really be so complete? This seems to occupy a place somewhere between sending a message in a bottle and buying a lottery ticket. Then again, neither of those acts involve phony religious sentiments offered to a “spirit of giving,” or some such thing.