Every year I get out my Christmas decorations and put them up the weekend after Thanksgiving. In the midst of my decorations each year sits a framed letter I wrote to Santa when I was only nine years old. I don’t always stop to re-read it but this year I took a few extra moments to do so and decided to share it with all of you.
As cute as I find that letter, it strikes me how much I can see my adult self in that little girl’s note. I loved Christmas…and still do. Even though I was starting to get older, I still chose to hold to the truth there was a Santa Claus out there who spread love and joy around the world. I had a wonderful childhood and it wasn’t that I was trying to live in some fantasy world, but I just loved Santa and what he represented. I’ve often said I was not a normal kid and it’s so true! I remember writing that letter and truly believing everything I said. First of all, I knew that I could always be a better person. I didn’t care about material gifts but gifts of the heart. To me, love was the greatest gift you could give or receive. Love also meant you were honest, which is why I couldn’t even get through my letter to Santa without correcting my opening statement that I had been “good.” I felt like I didn’t deserve anything not because I was so terrible, but because I felt like I hadn’t done enough to help others. I wanted “stuff” for other people (or animals)! Yeah…I was a sappy child. All I wanted was for Santa to know that he was important to me and that I loved him. And if there was something he could bring me, I didn’t want stuff because it didn’t matter to me at all. More than anything, I just wanted him to know that I was grateful and that I cared about him and loved him with all my heart. It’s interesting to me that what I said or asked for in my letter is still reflective of the way I think today. Material things still don’t matter to me. Sure, they are nice to have, but what really matters is the connections and relationships we have with the people around us. What matters is love. THAT is the true magic of Christmas.
So in this season of overspending and over-committing to activities, let us remember to stop and show our love to the people in our lives…not with gifts we can buy but with the gift of ourselves and our time. In a season where the world tries to distract us from the true reason why there IS a Christmas, let us be thankful to our Father who IS love.
And may my grown up Christmas letter always be filled with the same sentiment it had when I was nine. Blessings!