When all is quiet, I think we grownups are just as pleased to muse, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus," as any child. We all want to believe in someone who is jolly, generous, and loving - who knows our heart and conjures up just what we really want for Christmas. Ah, the sheer joy of it!
When we see Santas in every department store, let alone on every street corner, we easily dismiss them with the casual, "Santa's helpers." But who among us does not look closely at the occasional Santa to wonder if, just possibly, here is Kriss Kringle, the real Santa?
And who among us does not harbor in our heart the
secret of having discovered this gentleman
at one time or another in our lives?
There is a magic about the season that grips us one and all and we wouldn't trade the feeling for anything. I think our belief is what fuels us to shop till we drop, wanting to feed that magic as much as we can for as long as we can. The real joy of gifts is in the giving, even more than the receiving.
I knew someone once who really, truly wished he could be Santa and he was his most lovable when he was auditioning for the job because he so loved to give wonderful gifts. He had the requisite twinkle in his eye and fullness of heart in that special time of the year. Some people are blessed with the jolly disposition of old Saint Nick all year round.
My good friend, Mike Crafton, was one of these happy people. Mike passed away just before Thanksgiving and his funeral was more a celebration of his life than it was a grieving of his death. No one there doubted that Mike had gone to a happy place and everyone smiled in remembering this good man who loved every day and shared the joy he found all around him.
Many people are loving people all year round and keep the spirit of Christmas present from one year to the next. I have many of these people in my life and I wish to be like them. Two men jump to mind, both holy men, not because they are men of the cloth, but because they are truly men of the spirit.
Both have been pastors to just one congregation for more than 30 years. One is Reverend Charles Moseley at Great Bridge Baptist, the other is Reverend Bill Austin of Virginia Beach Christian. I have never heard a word of criticism toward or from either one of these great men and I have seen love shine from each as long as I've known them. There are also those who have a special gift for giving comfort.
I remember how much the encouragement and kind words from Rabbi Philip Krohn meant to me at a particularly difficult time in my life. He knew just the right words to lift my spirits.
There are so many kinds of gifts, including those which come wrapped and those which are formed by words.
My wish for each of you is to enjoy the season with those you love and who love you and that you will celebrate Christmas or Chanukah or whatever is meaningful in your lives together.
For me personally, there is also the ultimate gift - that of faith, the faith that has seen me through the bad times so that I could get back to the good times. The faith that I profess is the one that began on the first Christmas day in a little town so far away.
The whole time I am smiling at the thought of Santa Claus, I never forget that the real meaning of Christmas for me is the belief in goodness, symbolized by the birth of Christ.
My wish for each of you is to enjoy the season with those you love and who love you and to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever is meaningful in your lives together.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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