There Really Is A Santa -- If You Know Where To Look For Him
I believe in Santa Claus. I'm not a child, nor even passingly young anymore. But as each year-end nears, and the stores begin stocking strings of lights and tinsel, alerting us to the fact that the holidays loom, I am gripped with a fever. And, perhaps it's because this feeling is familiar that I begin to see the truth. And the truth is, there really IS a Santa Claus.
Oh, sure. I groan as much as the next person when I first hear holiday muzak in the stores. Maybe more so, having worked in the restaurant business for some years where Christmas muzak -- day in and day out and, Oh!, Even extra hours of it! -- turns once-beloved melodies into an endurance test.
And I grouse about the endless chores: The shopping and wrapping and decorating and card sending. But whenever my intellect begins to question the validity of all these efforts, one stark memory stops it cold.
It was the first time I caught a glimpse of Santa Claus.
It was the first Christmas after my parents separated. A bleak time, to be sure. My mother had cautioned me repeatedly not to expect much for Christmas, that it was all she could do to keep us fed, clothed and sheltered (this was before the improved alimony and child-support laws).
Perhaps it was my lowered expectations. I was surprised as I found a new kind of joy in our meager decorations (less of them made each one all the more precious); anticipation in the buying, making and wrapping of the gifts my combined birthday and allowance money afforded (probably all of $10-15 at the time); and the fun of helping with baking cookies and other holiday treats.
But most of all, I was shocked when I felt the peace and love of the season overwhelm me as, one evening, I watched my mother quietly writing Christmas cards by candle light. What it was about that moment, I don't know. Except that it was the first time I saw Santa Claus.
I saw him in my mother's quiet determination, despite all, to look past her own troubles and celebrate the season. That moment will be forever etched in my memory as one of the most beautiful moments I've ever experienced. It was Santa, as close to being in the flesh, as possible.
Over the years, I've become adept at recognising Him. I see Him in every mom & dad who stays up on Christmas eve, struggling with bike or other last-minute gift assembly; I see it in toy donation bins filled to overflowing; I see it in the coins tossed to Salvation Army Volunteers and, indeed, in the volunteers themselves.
When I worked in restaurants, it was part of my job to sell the gift certificates. At first I moaned for the added responsibility, especially at such a generally busy time of the year-- until I was surprised at how often I saw Santa in the faces of the people buying those gift certificates. People who had gone out of their way, who spent just a moment to think of Uncle Henry or Mom & Dad. Whatever their motives or reasons, the important thing is, they took the time to think of others, to do for others, to climb out of the quagmire of their lives long enough to see others and reach out to them.
Like many parents, I used to take my kids to the mall to see Santa. Imagine my surprise when I found Santa in every harried shopper, every over-worked store clerk, as well as every child's face. Some people avoid the mall during the Christmas season. I think that's a tragic missed chance to see Santa and I make sure to go there as often as possible. Think of it: just about every single person there is buying for or thinking of someone else. Isn't that a miracle?
It's taken me a long time to see Santa. Just as it's taken me a while to understand that it really is better to give than receive. Because, in giving, we think of others and forget our own troubles for a little while. Plus, giving is the best way to appreciate how lucky we are.
Oh, yeah, I believe in Santa. And that Santa can perform miracles. Remember that Christmas when I first saw Santa? That Christmas morning I was overwhelmed by the gifts I received.
Sure, some people (humbugs, mostly) would quickly point out that I simply expected less -- and that my parents probably felt guilty and over-compensated. To that, I can only say, dissecting a miracle brings one no closer to understanding it or experiencing it first-hand. But, mostly, I think it only shows how much people can do when they decide to make an effort. Because that morning WAS a miracle-- and the first time I believed in Santa's Magic.--mo
About the Author: Marige O'Brien is a writer, web designer and entrepreneur. She is currently offering her Country Fresh Cinnamon Butter (To View go to http://xrl.us/iz5y ) and recommends the items sold at The Veriuni Store (https://www.moreinfo247.com/9038515/showIndex.vstore)