Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I still believe

Some years ago, I watched a TV special starring Richard Thomas ("John-Boy" of the Waltons - remember?) In it he portrayed the father of little Virginia, the one who asked the famous question "Is there a Santa Claus?" (Interesting I should be thinking about it today, as a google search reveals the video was released on this day in 1991.)

Charles Bronson portrayed the newspaper editor struggling with issues of faith following the death of his wife. (Most likely a contrived element, but that's OK.) As a writer I've always enjoyed the story of Virginia. I imagine the day when little ones thought newspaper editors, rather than internet search engines, had the answers, and it makes me smile.

I smile also when thinking about Santa. We are a Santa-believing bunch, my family. Last night I sat with my youngest son while he penned a letter to the old gent. At first he hid it from me, then revealed it, which I thought spoke volumes about where he is on the "still believing in Santa" continuum. I fear this might be our last Christmas of full-out belief, and I'm savoring every moment.

Not that my children ever really stop believing. Really. Ask them.

Anyway, the list.

"Dear Santa, Here is my Christmas wish list," it began.

1. a DS
2. polar express movie and game
3. a reindeer and sleigh toy
4. a snowglobe
5. DVDs of all Toy Story Movies

It's an interesting list. First of all, he already owns the first two items, but he can't find them. That tells you something about the little urchin. The other thing about the list - it's very, I don't know, Christmasy. That I love.

If Luke were to write a letter to a modern-day newspaper editor, or do a google search, I hope his beliefs would not be dashed. Santa has something to give that cannot possibly be make-believe. I wrote about it here, in one of my favorite posts, two years ago, and I am still holding fast to my belief.

I hope you are, too. Believe in Santa. Believe in the goodness of others and of yourself. Believe that miraculous things can happen on Christmas Eve - and every day.

Yes, Virginia - Yes, Luke - there is a Santa Claus. Don't stop believing.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

'tis a gift

In a season of want, relying on Him for my needs, I find peace in simplicity.


A simple chant: "O come, O come...."

The smell of fresh balsam; a single red bow; three pine cones.

Dad's hands, cool, with paper thin skin, gripping mine tightly as I help him stand.

The smiles of teenage girls.

One purple candle, then two, lit with wooden matches.

Cans of peas and corn and pumpkin, boxes of macaroni, lined up on my counter. Gifts that mean more than words can say.

Boys in blankets, warm with sleep, pretending to doze in the morning darkness. A little dog, black and white and happy all over, nestled with them.

Blue eyes that are sometimes green. With crinkles at the corners.

Toddlers squealing while I chase them.

A hug, unsolicited, from my grown-man son.

Simple, precious gifts. Look around. They're everywhere. Enjoy them, and rejoice in preparing your heart for Christmas.