Since I can remember I have always loved Christmas. When I was very young, only about 3 years old, I, being quite precocious, quizzed my Mother incessantly about all of the details of Santa Clause and his life and activities. I remember the house that we lived in at the time was a wonderful old house with many nooks and crannys for me to disappear into when I wanted some "alone" time. I had one particular corner in the living room, though, that was where I prayed to God, and, during the holiday season, where I talked to Santa Clause.
Just before my third Christmas, I remember standing in that corner praying to God and asking Santa if they would bring me a baby sister for Christmas. One day my Mother asked me what I was doing and I told her. She patiently explained to me that God is the one who brings us baby sisters, not Santa Clause. I accepted that explanation at the time, however, I was still confused. In my mind, Santa lived in heaven with God, so they both must bring us babies. After all, everyone said that heaven was up in the sky and, where did Santa and his reindeer come from -- Out of the sky! Yes, I knew that people told me that Santa lived in the North Pole, but, in my little mind, the North Pole was in the sky in heaven with God.
So, during the next year, I continued to pray to God for a baby sister and, lo and behold, a month before my fourth Christmas, my new baby sister arrived! I was so thankful to God. Since it was so close to Christmas, I figured that Santa must have had a hand in it somehow, so I also thanked Santa for my new sister.
My, the years since then have gone by so quickly. I still believe in God, although my faith has been tested mightily. My faith and belief in Santa Clause has, for the most part, remained strong. His spirit still comes alive in me every time I see the twinkle of the lights on a Christmas tree; feel snowflakes on my eyelashes; savor the smell of cookies baking in the oven; or relish the scent of fresh pine branches. Unfortunately, during the past few years, the circumstances of my life have not always easily allowed me to open my heart to the Christmas spirit. I have a serious chronic illness. I have lost my career and virtually everything that I have worked my entire life for. I must admit that I have lost and found my faith in God many times over during the past few years. A few times, it even felt like Santa's spirit was flickering and in danger of being extinguished.
I must admit that I really was not looking forward to Christmas this year. That is - Until yesterday when Santa and God sent me a moment of "Christmas Joy", and reminded me of some things that I had forgotten. I was cleaning the house and I was listening to some Christmas CD's. My little cat - Miss Bunny - was sitting on the back of a chair in the family room when Placido Domingo began singing an Italian piece entitled - "Mille cherubini in coro". It is a lovely, soothing piece, and as Placido began singing the chorus - "Glory, glory....", I looked over at Bunny, and her little head was gently rocking back and forth and her tail was delicately swishing side to side in time with the music. She was so thoroughly enjoying the music and the moment -- The first thought that came to my mind when I looked at her was -- "PURE JOY - PURE CHRISTMAS JOY".
Tears streamed down my face as I watched her serene and peaceful face. And then I had a thought. I suppose that it is possible that my brain was solely responsible for this thought, but, I would like to think that, somewhere up there in heaven, God and Santa Clause decided that I needed a reminder, and they telegraphed my brain this message, which is as follows:
"Moments of Christmas Joy, my dear Girl, are all around us every day of the year. You need only slow down, take a good look around, be still and quiet, take in the world, and the joy will come to you. Each day it will be different. Some days it will be more powerful than others, but keep your heart open, and we will both fill it with joy."
Well, there you have it. Straight from the heavens where I have concluded that both God and Santa live. So, thank you God -- thank you Santa, for reminding me to seek out and find Christmas Joy. This Christmas, I will not ask you for a house or for money -- there are so many people who need your help more desperately than I do. I would like to have more days that I am well rather than sick. Maybe the two of you can help me there.
I don't know what 2011 will bring for me or for the billions of other people on this wonderful blue planet of ours. My humble Christmas Day message to all of you in Blog Land is this -- Regardless of what God you pray to, or whether or not you celebrate Christmas, my Christmas wish for you is that you will keep your heart open to finding at least one moment of "JOY" each day for the rest of your life and "beyond". It will make your life more fulfilling and meaningful.
May you all be well, be happy, love, and be loved by many on this Christmas Day and forevermore.
"May you have the gladness of Christmas which is Hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is Peace;
The heart of Christmas which is Love."
--Ada V. Hendricks