Updated: Feb 15
I always get ramped up thinking about you this time of year. Although I am a grown man, there is something about Christmas that takes me back to my childhood days of innocent, raw belief and unbridled anticipation.
In those younger years, when the only calendar I understood was how many days I was away from the next Christmas, I didn’t possess the pressures, stress or obligations that I now constantly juggle. Yet, I also didn’t have the privilege of watching the joyful tears, chuckles and smiles that will be draped on the faces of my wife and three children as we gather to celebrate your arrival.
With all the hoopla, cheerful people, busy shoppers, festive food and decorations I can’t resist having lofty expectations. As certain as the rising of the sun, I am sure your deliveries on Christmas day will be logged into the diary of my mind for years to come.
Last Saturday, I took my wife to Dallas for a company Christmas party. The city was ablaze with the fire of Christmas lights and parties. The countdown of your presence and presents were obvious everywhere we went. The decked-out halls of our hotel and the extended hours of the mall and its scarf-clad spenders scurrying around like it was “Whoville,” were the unneeded reminder of the special day ahead.
As I bumped elbows with other shoppers, I wondered how many still believed. I pondered how many had decided you were a myth or fairytale. Could it be that many have given up the childlike faith they once placed in you? So many faces looked busy yet without direction, and I prayed that reasons had not crushed the hope and entitled cheer of the season.
When I strolled by Santa’s photo booth, I stared at the children who were standing in line like short-fused bottle rockets awaiting their turn to meet their hero. Their hopes and dreams finally seemed within grasp. I reminisced about younger years when I was one of those boys in line and when every ounce of belief I possessed hung upon the shoulders of a different man than you. One who I knew was wearing a fake beard and wig.
I also thought about my youngest child and felt a sting of regret and loss at the fact that this would be his last year to believe in Santa. As a father, it seems especially hard to see this chapter of his life come to an end although I feel peace that he is old enough to understand that your birth is the cradle in which to put his childlike trust.
The shopping, I mean spending, trip helped me reminisce. I don’t need to ask you about the obvious, because I know you were watching. However, I can’t resist. Do you remember the Irish setter dog I desperately wanted that my grandfather brought over on Christmas Eve? Do you recall the yellow bike, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Stretch Armstrong or my first Big Wheel that I was so excited to receive?
For so many years I innocently felt grateful to Santa when my parents were the ones to be appreciated. Looking back, it makes me wonder how many in the world are still giving credit to themselves or someone else for all the blessings that have always been coming from your gracious hands. Most importantly, I know we both remember my first Christmas as a true believer. At 21 years of age I felt you – no I experienced you – and the holiday in a heart-consuming gratitude I’ve never gotten over.
I am thankful for the tree and the light you brought into my life. I’m grateful it wasn’t a Christmas tree but a tree shaped into a cross. Yours had nails instead of ornaments. It did not have a present under it because you were the gift upon it. While I used to adore the man dressed in a red suit I now adore you for being clothed in the red of your own blood so that I could have forgiveness and hope.
Thank you for giving me relationship. One day I will be home with you for Christmas. Until then, I just want to say thanks.