There was a story going around when I was a kid that Santa wasn’t real. I was confused because everywhere I went at Christmas, there he was ho, ho, ho-ing. Really, you couldn’t miss him. You must have seen him; big fellow, red suit, white beard, big black boots, always jolly. You could touch him, see him, and talk to him as proof of his existence. Children would send letters to Santa with long wish lists after spending hours pouring over the toy sections in the Eaton’s and Sear’s catalogues. Stockings continued to be hung by the chimney with glee and snacks were mindfully set out for jolly old St. Nick and sometimes carrots for the reindeer. Santa Claus was a real person long ago and his selfless generosity continues to deliver a tradition filled with wonder and awe as the delightful personification of parental kindness. Every Christmas morning, the simple pleasure of giving and receiving inspires a scene of mystery and enchantment. Blessings abound as we revel in the magic and the spirit of Christmas. With full and grateful hearts, thanks are given for the spirit of cordial goodness, for the playfulness of young and old, and for the sheer joy in benevolence.
There was also a story going around when I was a kid that God wasn’t real. After all, God was not visible; no red suit, black boots, nor a team of flying reindeer. You couldn’t touch God, or see God, but every morning at school we would pray to God. At Christmas, additional prayers, said in private, were anxiously whispered as children asked forgiveness for indiscretions in fear of the almighty naughty list. On Christmas Eve, families gathered at church to hear the Christmas story once again and to feel the miracle of that most Holy night. Carols were sung, candles would glow, emotions would flow, and the air was filled with a sparkle and a glitter of awe and wonder that was undeniably real. Jesus, God’s only son, was born that Christmas night and was a real person long ago. His pure and simple message to love one another continues to deliver a tradition filled with hope and peace as the personification of Christian discipleship. The simple pleasure of giving and receiving inspires a world filled with the blessings of hope, peace, joy and love for all people. With full and grateful hearts, thanks are given for the spirit of compassion and for tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.
These two stories are still going around after centuries of debate and discussion because miracles undeniable happen. Awe and wonder surprise us again and again when we least expect it and aged cherished traditions are lovingly lived out through the generations. This holiday season spread some good cheer and be an angel to someone who could really use one. Oh wait, there was a story going around when I was a kid that angels aren’t real.
May this holiday season be filled with kindness and love that amazes and inspires peace and goodwill toward all! Merry Christmas and blessings for a happy and healthy New Year.
Rev. Laurie Howard
Lyons Memorial United Church