I believe in Santa.
I believe in the extraordinary morning light of Christmas Day. Not the beaming light of my parents’ smiles, nor the glaring light from my father’s movie camera – the mysterious light that fills me with wonder and hope; and anticipation of the joy I will share throughout the day with the people I love most.
I’m not the only one who believes that my mother and father are exceedingly caring and generous. They made every moment of Christmas magical. I always felt the purest sense of happiness those days. Far beyond the pleasure that comes from new toys. The kind of happiness that grows from a deep gratitude in the center of your being; from believing you are safe, unconditionally accepted, completely loved – the goodness of Santa.
Wherever we were in the world, Santa always found us. Santa even found me once in London.
During my college break, I was traveling to Africa to visit my parents and younger brother for the holiday season, when I was grounded in Heathrow Airport. Settling the strike was reported as hopeless, and it was certain I would miss, for the first time, Christmas with my family.
On Christmas Eve night, I was lying across an airport bench in terrible despair, trying to sleep, when I saw a Santa at the far end of the terminal. In what seemed like the next moment, the gate clerk was shaking me awake, and I was boarding my plane.
I arrived in Khartoum on Christmas morning. Security was such that only my father was permitted into the airport. When I spotted my Dad, and looked into his bluest, teary eyes, I saw Santa again.
Then we arrived at my parent’s home, and my mother ran out to greet us. It was 100 degrees in the dry desert air, and Christmas light was all around her. I was instantly filled with that wonder and hope, and anticipation of the joy I would share throughout the day with the people I love most.
My sister told me that when she was a little girl, she heard the jingling of bells and saw a flash of red one Christmas Eve. I believe my sister.
At one time in my childhood, I had some skepticism about Santa, and asked my Mom if Santa was real. She answered without hesitation. She said, “I believe in Santa. Santa is in our hearts.”
I believe that it is not only better to give than to receive, but that giving is better than anything. My parents inspired this belief.
Now, my children wake up in Christmas light. And, as I love them completely, accept them unconditionally, and keep them safe, I hope that I will inspire the kind of happiness I have known – the goodness of Santa.
I know for sure that I will answer without hesitation when they ask. I’ll say, “I believe in Santa. Santa is in our hearts.”
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