The night is Christmas Eve. Everyone is fast asleep upstairs in their beds.
I begin to ease the house into the dark night. I push a little black button that turns off the miniature train village and the front parlor’s Christmas Memory tree. How I love watching the electric trains encircle this special tree, filled with our children’s handmade ornaments from top to bottom, some over 40 years old.
Next, with a quick tap of a tiny switch on an old wall, the white lights on the bushes outside go black.
I peer out of an old window set into a green paneled door. My nose, with its warmth, clouds the wavy glass. No people, no cars on the road, just newly fallen snow that sparkles like diamonds under a moonlit sky.
My slippered feet take me to the rear of our old house and its recent addition. I pass the kitchen where another switch is tapped in the new foyer controlling the lights in the driveway.
After a whispered thank you to my Lord, I say goodnight to the 50-foot evergreen near our barn. Its multicolored light bulbs glow under a dusting of snow and feels almost like a blessing on our centuries old home.
I hear the porch door, which faces the woods, open and close with a crunch from the ice that has formed on its threshold. My husband, Tim, lets Mac, our senior Beagle, make his last mark on the frozen ivy for the night.
From my right comes the soft glow of a lone bulb that lights the wooden manger of the Baby Jesus. It’s the final click of the night.
In the darkness, I inch my way to our bedroom where I climb into bed next to Tim and then under the thick blankets for a good winters sleep.
It isn’t long, at least it seems quick to me, that I hear something on the roof. I glance at the clock; it’s 3am and way to soon to wake. I roll over, hug my pillow and try to catch another 40 winks. But the sound of a thump startles me once again and my drowsy eyes open wide.
I throw off the covers. With me in my nightgown and feet without socks, I fly to the doorway only to see that all is still, bathed in the shadowy light from a cold winter’s moon. My heart races, my head becomes filled on this Christmas Eve with the thought of just one thing. And yet, nothing makes sense at the moment, I question myself again, what was that clatter…the outside shower door in the wind? a branch on the roof?
Soon a smile grows across my face as I slowly turn back to bed. Once under the warm quilts, it doesn’t matter. I know in my heart it could only be, the magic of Christmas. Yes, it has to be Santa Claus. And for a split second I am seven again, giggling under the covers, anxiously waiting for morning to come. This was surely a gift from Santa, a reward for a faithful belief that I’ve carried all my life. And when I wake, I’ll be pleased to tell my tale to all who’ll listen so they too can share in this wonder.
The moral or lesson to my story is simple, be childlike. Believe in Santa Claus, believe in his spirit, his magic and keep him alive. He’s not such a bad guy after all. Remember it’s not all about presents and gifts, it’s about family, memories, love, kindness, and the twinkling bulbs that light the night. For me, it’s about an angel sent by God to remind us that his son was born to save us. Call him St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Pere Noel, or Santa Claus. He’s an angel true and true, one that makes our hearts lighter, our lives brighter and just happens to like the color red.
See you next year!