I Believe

Reposting because I STILL believe and needed to feel the magic of the season….

I pulled up to the Post Office yesterday and saw a man with a long white beard, thinning hair, wide and round around the middle and wearing a red shirt, suspenders and a broad smile on his face. I said to myself “It’s Santa”. He went into the Post Office ahead of me and took care of his business on one side of the building while I walked over to take my place in a very long line, where many of us were waiting with last minute packages to be mailed. I forgot about him while I was in line putting together the box I purchased and addressing my package. Then my attention was drawn back to him when he appeared in the area where I stood in line. In a very deep jovial voice he said “Merry Christmas Everyone” and waved with cheerfulness.

NO ONE, except me, said Merry Christmas back. Many folks didn’t make eye contact, glance at him or acknowledge him in any way. He was kind and cheerful and looked much like the man that played Kris Kringle in the old version of Miracle on 34th Street.  I thought to myself , “we still don’t believe”, and then how sad that people would not return a greeting. He seemed unaffected by the lack of attention and stepped into the other room wishing everyone in there a Merry Christmas also. I don’t know the response he got. Even if you’re a person of a different religion that doesn’t celebrate Christmas or you believe that Santa takes the “Christ” out of Christmas, why not still acknowledge a friendly greeting? He never said he was Santa, that was only how I envisioned him, and I assume many others as well. He asked for nothing, and he only gave a cheerful greeting and a wish for a happy day.

I recently watched Miracle on 34th Street because it was one of my dad’s favorite movies and it makes me think of and remember him fondly during a season when I miss him greatly. My dad was a man who dreamed big and was much like Kris Kringle and this man in the Post Office yesterday, right down to the full beard. He was full of great stories and joyfulness and loved people. He had a deep inviting voice and people frequently asked if he was a radio personality. Maybe he should have been. He would have been good at it. He also loved to greet people, was quick to make friends, and didn’t miss an opportunity to give someone a smile and wish them a good day. I easily could have pictured him doing just as this man had done, without fear of rejection or embarrassment. He was bold and friendly and stood up for what he believed, and he believed in the miracle of Christmas and carrying joy in your heart and waking each day as if it were a new beginning. He was the most cheerful person I’ve ever known in the morning (I really used to hate that when I was still trying to steal sleep and he greeted me with a friendly “rise and shine” every morning). I smile about it now and wish I had appreciated it then.

As I watched Miracle on 34th Street this year I saw it differently, perhaps as my dad had always seen it. I saw the miracle in more than the ending, but throughout the movie. I saw the lives Kris Kringle touched every day, the way he made people believe in themselves and in miracles. I saw my dad in Kris Kringle and I saw him in “Santa” yesterday. I was reminded of a phrase from the movie “Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. Don’t you see? It’s not just Kris that’s on trial, it’s everything he stands for. It’s kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles.” This story was going somewhere else before I started writing. I wanted to tell everyone to believe in miracles, and the greatest of all things, those intangibles (love, peace, joy and kindness and more). I still want that for you (and me). Now, as I sit here writing though, and crying, I’ve realized that perhaps no one else was supposed to notice “Santa” except me. Perhaps I wasn’t getting the message of the season and my dad sent me a little angel (with a big round belly, full beard and deep inviting voice) to tell me to believe…just believe and everything else will fall in place.

Yesterday I wondered how my mom made every Christmas seem magical, how she pulled it all together without complaining or appearing stressed by all the work that it took to make it happen. I remember the look on her face every Christmas morning as she sat in her robe in her rocking chair, coffee on her lap, sipping it slowly, smiling and gently rocking in her chair. She must have felt great joy in seeing our faces light up with each gift we opened. I was feeling bad yesterday that our Christmas traditions didn’t mirror the ones I grew up with, my house lacks a festive look I remember fondly, and my Christmas tree doesn’t have that same perfect look I recall from my youth. Mom always let us kids decorate the tree and I did the same thing with my kids, but somehow all the ornaments always ended up clumped in one section at a child’s eye level. I called her one year to ask how our tree always looked so perfect even though she let us decorate. She let me in on a little secret, “It’s simple. After the kids go to bed at night you just redo it.” I had to laugh. I never knew! So simple, just as she made everything else appear. I was feeling like a failure yesterday as I rushed from store to store and didn’t feel as though I was doing this holiday thing with the grace and ease that my mother had managed all those years. Then Dad sent me an angel I BELIEVE! Thanks Kris Kringle aka Santa. Thanks Mom and Dad; you‘re with me in spirit. The memories you’ve left me are those of love and joy and kindness. Thanks for the intangibles.

Wishing everyone love, joy, peace and kindness,

Pam

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4 Responses

  1. Very well written…and very true! 🙂
    Merry Christmas everyone!

  2. Beautiful sentiments. Thanks for sharing this and your thoughts!

  3. “Yes, Virginia, there is a 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. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.” The New York Sun….I believe also…blessings!

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