Today, I’ve been conjuring up memories of Christmas past. On Christmas eve when I was little I was so excited about Santa coming that I couldn’t sleep. I would squeeze my eyes shut and try my hardest to go to sleep because Santa couldn’t come while I was awake. As I grew older I wanted to see Santa. It wasn’t enough to see that he had been there on Christmas morning. I needed to see him for myself. So, I would struggle to stay awake until he came. I thought if I lay very still under the covers and listened very closely I would hear him, and then I would jump out of bed and catch him in the act. It only worked one time.
This particular Christmas we all spent at Grandma’s house. And when I say “all” I mean parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Grandma’s house wasn’t very big so it was decided that all twenty or so cousins would sleep on pallets in the living room, where the Christmas tree was. It wasn’t easy finding space for that many kids in a fully furnished room, but somehow our Moms and Dads managed it and we eventually settled down to go to sleep.
I lay there still as a mouse with my cousin Rusty’s stinky feet six inches from my face for what seemed like hours. I may have dosed off but sometime during the night I heard a noise. I didn’t dare move. I opened my eyes just a little, and there he was. Santa was making his way toward the Christmas tree. He was carrying a huge bag and he was stepping over and among and around all those bodies and he never woke any of the others. He was perfectly silent and graceful and magical.
I held my breath for fear he would discover me watching as he quickly went about his business. He emptied his bag under the tree, and then just as gracefully and silently he made his way back through the throng of sleeping kids. As he slipped out the door and into the night I actually heard him say, “Ho, Ho, Ho. Merry Christmas.” And then he was gone.
The wonder, the excitement, the genuine joy that I felt in that moment is my wish for you this Holiday season. Merry Christmas and may God bless you and yours.