There is Santa Claus.
When I was young, there were Christmas seasons our family had very little. My sister, brother and I never knew, because our hearts were so full of the holiday magic happening around us. I remember sitting on the cold wood pew during Midnight Mass – fighting sleep and worrying Santa Claus would beat us back to our house. All these years later I still think of Rudolph when I drive those country roads and see the tower with the red light on top, because during my childhood that light WAS Rudolph.
I want you to believe in magic and mystery, and be young at heart. I want you to stop worrying about the real world for a bit, and find a safe space to be childlike.
When your friends tell you they found their gifts deep in the back of a closet, I want you to think of the lettuce you leave in the yard or the carrots you throw on our roof for the reindeer – and believe.
When your friends list the gadgets and goodies they will receive from their parents, I want you to think of the screenless, wireless, heartfelt gifts the elves have made for you in the North Pole – and believe.
When your friends give you grief about the eight tiny reindeer or the “naughty list,” think of looking up into the night sky on the way home from Midnight Mass in search of THE Christmas Star and Rudolph’s nose – and believe.
When your friends talk about sleeping in on Christmas Morning, I want you to think of running into our room and waking us up (too early) with your little brothers, piling onto our bed, and just being together for a few minutes – and believe.
When your friends judge you for putting such an emphasis on our magic, remind them we light our Advent wreath each night, baby Jesus is placed in the manger before the first gift is touched, and you give three things before you ask for three things – and believe.
And remember, if they don’t believe in our magic, it’s okay.
There are some people who will try to explain the magic to you. Listen … then tell them that Cupid spreads dozens of hearts on our walls and always leaves a few bottles of “sparkly juice” for you. Tell them we still laugh uncontrollably when the Leprechaun spray paints shamrocks on the driveway. And explain how the Easter Bunny always finds us – no matter where we are on Easter morning.
Tell them about our snow dances, and that even though they don’t always work – we keep doing them anyway.
Santa Claus comes in all shapes, colors and sizes. Santa Claus is about giving, sharing and taking care of others. Santa Claus in your heart.
Let this time of year, and all our family does, be your safe place. And believe.