My daughter’s letter to Santa. A little fuzzy, I know. But appropriate since I’m feeling a little fuzzy at the moment myself. The fairy charms and jewels and the Guess Who? game are hidden in the attic, along with a few other things that will come as a pleasant surprise to her on Christmas morning. But what she wants most, for all the children to get thousands of toys? Well, that’s a little more than this Santa can deliver. Funny, though, that she thinks every child should get a set of Crayolas. I think that’s a good idea. The world needs more color.
I remember asking Santa for a set of Crayolas. The big box of ninety-six with the sharpener in the back. Got it, too.
I wrote a letter to Santa every year until I was nine, when The Dreaded Truth finally came to light. After that, my annual wish list was devoid of carefully planned sentences and colored pictures at the bottom of Christmas trees and elves. Instead, it came in the form of a few scribbles on scrap paper that I handed to my mother.
But the magic of Christmas that was gone then is back now, though in another, purer form. My thoughts this year aren’t focused upon what I want or even what the kids want. They seem deeper somehow. Better, too.
My son asked me this morning if I had written my letter to Santa. I told him no, that only kids write letters. “Grownups are old enough to take care of themselves,” I said. He thought about that, and then said that nobody can really take care of themselves and that the Bible said so. He had a point. So we sat at the table together, trying to figure out what I wanted and what I really didn’t.
Hello from Billy. I know it’s been a while since I’ve written you, but I’m hoping you understand. And there have been times when I really wasn’t a very good boy, but I’m hoping you understand that, too.
It is with full clarity of mind that I wish for no presents this year. I wish my stocking empty and my customary place beneath the tree bare. I do not need gifts that can be purchased from catalogs or shopping malls. They will not make me a better man, a better husband, or a better father. Instead, I merely ask for another year of what I have received my entire life.
I ask for love to accept my imperfections and failures, not through excuse, but through the understanding that no matter how horribly I may act, there is not a day that begins without my solemn vow to make it a better one than the day before.
I ask for companionship in those days of drear (of which I am sure there will be many) as well as those days of cheer (of which I hope there will be just as many).
I ask for faith to push me forward when I wish to turn away, to never surrender to the poisons of doubt and despair, and to convince me that God would rather lose His Son than lose me.
I ask for hope to give me the strength to see the world in all its cruelty and injustice and still believe that in the end good will triumph over evil, right will overcome wrong, and peace will reign forever more.
Lastly, I ask for the magic to believe that the spirit of Christmas can be found throughout the year, that the giving and sharing of our blessings and our lives draw us not only nearer to one another, but nearer to God, and that miracles and angels abound every day.
Love. Companionship. Faith. Hope. Magic. These are My Wishes for this year. Gifts that require the opening of hearts rather than checkbooks. Gifts intended for us all, given freely on that first Christmas two thousand years ago, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
Hope to see you soon,