Letter to Santa
When a child, I looked forward to the cold December evenings. It seemed they were always sprinkled with laughter. After school, I climbed the scary tree in our backyard; scary because it looked like a skeleton under the winter’s moonlight. Bravely, I scrambled up its freshly bared limbs in the hope of seeing Santa coming.
It didn’t matter how hard I looked out from that tree or how long I stayed in its branches, I never once saw Santa coming till he was here.
On those evenings, I felt snug inside a home where the curtains were drawn early, and dad poked the fire into life. On the first day of December, grandma’s blanket was brought out, knit by mum, with a row green pines, nubby fir-cones, and red prancing reindeers. I still have grandma’s blanket, I really do. Only in December is it spread on my bed.
After my bath, I’d make one last check out of my bedroom window, maybe Christmas was close enough to see now?
No, I never did see it, but the angled and leaning lattice fence outside my window formed diamonds of moonlight on the garden shed. I remember those diamonds today in a different way; as all the people vanished from my childhood.
Every year in that young world, I’d wait for Santa Claus to come sliding down the chimney. He never did, of course; that was just a story for other children because dad told me how Santa would come across the ocean, Narwhals tugging his boat along the moon’s silvery path. Dad was right about everything.
I’m pretty sure we all earned our toys, the tinsel, and those precious times when we rejoiced in the coming of Jesus…or Santa.
Today, with the passing of each year, our lives are winding down. We pull our winter coats a little tighter, and maybe we still check the horizon for Christmas.
I thought I was passed writing letters to you, since I am now seventy years of age, but just so you know, it was my dad who ate the pies that mum put in the hearth, and not me. I saw you once, so I know you never got down our chimney. When I checked with Dad, well, he said you probably ate too many mince pies, so it was impossible. As I said, Santa, dad knows everything.
That same Christmas, after mum finished my bedtime story, I told her I didn’t believe in you because, no matter what, I never saw you coming. She hugged me and told me that we all need something to believe in.
Is that right?
Then she asked if I believed in God? I told her of course I do, why else would I say my prayers? That’s when mum said you might be God in disguise. It was that same night I saw you. You looked mighty fine, your big red tummy, shiny black boots, and majestic beard. I could not believe my eyes. You were so tall, like dad, and heck, you even use the same aftershave, Old Spice!
I didn’t want to write this to God, because, well, that seems kind of foolish. I decided I would write to you, Santa, one last time. I can’t write this letter and not tell you there is something I’d love to have this Christmas. It’s kind of big:
Can you make sure that every single one of my friends, all those who have cheered me, lifted my spirits, enjoyed time with me; can you make sure they know they are loved back?
The thing is, I know how huge my love is, I know its depth, its width, and sure as heck I know it won’t all fit in your sack, but maybe you can do that magic thing and touch their hearts this Christmas. They won’t see you coming, I know that, no matter how long they stay awake, but if you could do this for me, I could believe in you…I could believe in Christmas. Thank you, Santa. Harry.
We are at the first edge of December. Frightening how fast these sunset years seem to be traveling. More days going, more letters being written, more thanks for everything. Just now, as if flying to Bethlehem, Pelicans came passed the house in wide formation, quietly in the air.
I checked the sky for a bright star.
And to you, my friends, be happy, be kind, and be patient. Keep Christmas in your heart, even when the chorus tells you that its meaning is lost, that commercialization has taken over. No one can buy or sell your spirit. Be good to one another.
Love is such a gift. I seem unable to write a proper thank you note for receiving your praise and support. It has been a meeting of minds and hearts.
Whatever Christmas is to you, I wish you everything.