Thursday, December 13, 2007

You're NEVER to old to still believe in Christmas

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year, I love Christmas and everything associated with it. I love to be totally immersed int he holiday season: Christmas music, Christmas lights, and Christmas trees. I love the festive decorations, I love the spirit of good will, I love Santa Claus...I and love that this holiday exists to celebrate the birth of Christ. Christmas just doesn't feel like Christmas without all of these things.

Growing up in Wimberley, Christmas was cold. I think it only "snowed" once during my childhood in Central Texas so not REAL cold that we had a white Christmas.

I remember my family decorating the house on the inside and occasionally hanging lights outside. We did have "Rudolph" in our front yard (made out of cedar limbs and a big red light bulb screwed in for his nose.) I think seeing Rudolph in the yard made sure that Santa didn't miss us when he flew past. I loved the long drives for the sole purpose of looking at people's Christmas decorations. I can still hear "Christmas lights out Mommy's window!"

I have embraced the Christmas spirit and become much more of a Christmas nut now that I am a mother. I put up our ever-growing collection of Christmas decorations, Christmas music plays from my computer at work all day and then from the satellite when I get home at night. I haven't got around to it yet but I plan to beg Chad to take us out on a long drive to look at other people's Christmas decoration. I'm not TOTALLY Christmas crazy, but I am well on my way, and I love every minute of it. Poor Chad I know I drive him crazy with Christmas "torture" and the explosion of Christmas decorations in the house, but that's okay doesn't "Love bear ALL things?" Now that I'm a mother Ella with get to witness the Christmas "festivities", and I will definitely be the kind of mom who says things like "Christmas lights out Mommy's window!"

In many ways, Christmas is so different now than when I was a child. But the magic of Christmas is still there. Just like when I was a kid.

Every year I vow to celebrate Christmas with absolute reckless abandon. I dream of decorating our home inside and out, baking cookies, singing carols and attending the Christmas Eve church service where you hold white candles and sign "Silent Night" by candle-light (gives me goosebumps every time). I always wonder first thing on Christmas morning if Santa has come. You start by opening the stockings and then you move onto the gifts...I think I'm going to take my time in opening my gifts this year - not because I'm expecting a huge amount (although I have been REALLY good!), but because I think I need to savor each gift that I both give and receive a little more. Christmas gives me the time and the reason to do for others...The season brings out the best in us.

This will be my first Christmas as a parent. Ella is not going to have the slightest inkling what's in store or what on earth is going on (she will be 17 weeks at the time). I can't wait to share my excitement about this glorious holiday with my baby girl, it is the most incredible gift that I could have ever given to Chad...or received for myself.

Santa Claus will most definitely be coming to our house on Christmas Eve. Our stockings will be hung by the chimney with care and before I tuck Ella into her crib for the night, I will read to her "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and I will whisper a prayer of hope...that the light of Christmas, born so long ago in that manger, may ever shine in her heart.

I found this letter the other day and reading this might become a new tradition at our house at Christmas. This letter appeared in the New York Sun on September 21, 1897.

I appreciate that there is justification that Santa Claus exists.

Even though I knew it in my heart, already.


Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says “If you see it in The Sun it’s so.” Please tell me the truth: is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon


Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world, which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Francis P. ChurchThe New York Sun
September 21, 1897
Yes, Santa Claus exists.

It was a long time ago when I literally believed there was a physical, living, breathing Santa Claus. I still remember the joy that came from the idea of a man who flew through the air on a sleigh pulled by reindeer; and the man knew who I was and what I was doing all the time.

I often "saw" (okay maybe imagined) that I could see elves peeking at me from around a bush or from the back of my closet. Elves were magical and associated with happy ideas and fun to come. When I heard "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", there was no doubt in my mind such a wonderful phenomenon existed -- a reindeer with a red light bulb for a nose who was teased but eventually proved his worth by guiding Santa's sleigh through the night to visit all the children of the world, of which I was one. I just believed in Santa Claus....this was the beginning of believing. Technicalities didn't matter, it just made sense to me. It was always important at this time of year to be helpful and try extra hard to be kind. Christmas morning was flooded with anxiety with the little thought in the back of my mind..."Did I make the cut with Santa this year?" It was an age of believing. Of course then came the age when I realized how wise I was and no longer it better to be so young and innocently believing or is it more satisfying to be older and wiser? Would I still like to be a child to experience those memories or is it nicer to experience them through the eyes of my child? I go back and forth...I like the woman who said, "Children of all ages have a deep desire to believe in a great, benevolent, and generous gift-giver who reward the good. Christmas allows the child slumbering in each of our soul the chance to be reborn every year, awakening a sense of joy and wonder that even 11 months of doubt or discouragement can't snuff out. All that's required of us is that we believe."

Our new home in town is adorned with the stored treasures of Christmases past -- the cherished nativity that was given to Chad when he was born, the Christmas stockings made with love by Chad's Grandmother Locker with bells representing each Christmas and the colorful sequin and beaded ornaments that my Mommo hand made for me years ago that have now been passed on to Ella and adorn our tree for the first time. Amazingly, there is a place for everything as if it had been planned. Now the house is decorated and filled with lights, and I imagine when there are children about, even though I know better, I swear I will see elves peeking and hear sleigh bells in the distance.

After all, children need magic. They need to believe in fairy tales, in super-heroes. They need to believe in someone, other than Mom and Dad, who will travel continents just to bring them something they might want. Santa Claus, of course, would never break the speed limit in his sled or spank Rudolph for eating the cookies. No, Santa is as good as they get. He loves all children equally, he always has time to listen to kids, and he's never in a bad mood. Santa is fun, giving gifts to children is enjoyable. I can only begin to imagine the feeling I will get when Ella is older and I see the smile that creeps onto her face when she see's presents under the tree on Christmas morning. I know it will make me want to shop all over again, in spite of ridiculously long lines and tired, impatient crowds that will make me swear that this is the last year that I do this to myself.

Santa brings out the best in me, the giving spirit. And he will bring me a gift on Christmas Eve that I will not be able to find any other place: the gift of magic.

I believe in Santa Claus
I believe there's always hope when all seems lost
I believe in Santa Claus, I'll tell you why I do
'Cause I believe that dreams and plans and wishes can come true
I believe in miracles, I believe in magic too
I believe in family, in country and in smiles
I believe in turning negatives to positives in life
I believe in lookin' farther up the farther down we get
I believe when someone hurts we should forgive and forget
I believe love should prevail at any cost
I believe in saying what you mean and meaning what you say
I believe a better attitude can make a better way
I believe in viewing life as a journey that we're on
And lookin' at our troubles as another stepping stone
And I believe that everything in life is what it's meant to be
I believe there is a God although he's hard do see
I believe I am so therefore I should do all that I can
To be a better piece in the puzzle of God's plan

And I BELIEVE in Santa Claus

Do you believe in the magic of Christmas? Say it until you mean it, "I believe, I believe, I believe."

Merry Christmas to All!

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