Thank you, Santa Claus!

The pictures come out each December…the beloved Christmas cards and clever Santa snapshots with the real Santa we share with family and friends.  Yes, I said the real Santa Claus because, and you must trust me on this, he is.

img_3307Roll back 27 years ago, our oldest daughter was only five months old the day Santa first came to NorthPark Center.  My sister-in-law, Lynn, was the lady responsible for hiring him and she insisted I make the trek north with the baby on his first day for her first picture with him:  “All those others are just guys in suits; he IS the real Santa.”  I must agree;  he has the most extraordinary way of being completely in each child’s moment, giving each child a laser-focused, powerful interaction, and more if needed.  He listens, questions, reassures; he gives respect to all.  Everyone around him feels it and languishes in it.

You may remember hearing the famed New York Sun newspaper column, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”  The writer, Francis P. Church, warns an 8-year-old who is doubting her belief in Santa against the skepticism of an unsure time in our country’s history.  Sound familiar?  ~“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.” ~

The year our oldest was really doubting Santa’s existence, I mentioned her concern to him by saying, “Merry Christmas, Santa.  This is Rachel, she’s 6 and she’s having a ‘Virginia’ moment.”  Not only did Santa remember our girl from the previous five years, he knew exactly what to do.  After the photo with both girls, our youngest joined me (still a little shy around Santa), but Santa pulled Rachel aside.  Watching Rachel’s expression and her rapid-fire questions, they had several moments of conversation.  In the following days, it was obvious she had made her peace; her soul had calmed.  She never shared the conversation, but snuggling one night she noted, “You know, Santa told me I can choose to believe or not; I choose to believe in the truth of his work, his generous spirit, and the things in my heart.”  Yes, she was six…

img_3310-1Fast forward 27 years now as I pull out the pictures and reflect on these precious memories of making the trek each December to speak with the real Santa.  Our last family visit was in 2000 when Santa took time to read with our youngest who brought a book to give to him; notice our oldest (in middle school at the time) stayed for the story too…

Thank you, Santa, for sharing your time with our family and so many others through the years; thank you for the lessons in life you give.  In these unsure times, may we all express the love, generosity, hope, peace, and joy you remind us of each day of the new year.

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