Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yes, Wolf, There is a Santa Claus

I quit believing in Santa Claus when I was in sixth grade. I found out that Santa and my mother had the same handwriting and assumed the jig was up. I put on a good show, though, for the next few years but ultimately fell into the grownup world of realism and making the magic for other, smaller people, like my children.

Last Christmas I changed my mind about that.

The hardest thing in the world for a parent is to be without a child at Christmastime. Not the adult children whom we have released to spread their own wings and create their own Christmas memories with their own families. I'm talking about our children who are so fragile and delicate in their respective ways, and so young (mentally, physically, or otherwise) to be without mom or dad on the most magical night of the year. Of course I'm talking about my own son, and the 100 or so other boys and girls, young men and women, who reside at CHYC and are not able to be with those most important to them.

With the past few days filled with emotional undercurrents threatening to spill over into my Christmas-infused brain tonight, it was evident that I needed a diversion. Bear and I had been talking about Santa Claus and his proximity to our home here in Alaska, and we brought up the NORAD Santa Tracker web site in order to ensure Santa's arrival at Evergreen Street.

As we watched the screen load, and anticipation build, Bear asked if Santa knew where Wolf was tonight. I told him that Santa knew where all of his children were on Christmas Eve and beyond, so devoted he is. The screen flashed, and NORAD had spotted the Man in Red moving somewhere in the Mid West. The sleigh paused a moment then flew on. Right to West Jordan, Utah, where it stopped. And stayed.

You see, the magic that is Santa and Christmas and God and His Son poured out all at once to a little school in the Southwest United States and into the soul of my son, and other mothers' sons, to show us once and for all, indeed, He is here, and there, and simply everywhere tonight. If for no other reason than to soothe a hundred anxious hearts on this Night of All Nights.

As a journalist, I treasure the words of newsman Francis Pharcellus Church from 1897 in his editorial response to a young girl questioning the existence of Santa Claus. "He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy."

I believe, as surely as that pre-adult son of mine lies in bed tonight dreaming of tomorrow.

"...he lives, and he lives forever."

Happy Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.

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