Now, here's the thing, my parents weren't really that big into Santa when I was younger, but I totally was. My Mom always put a few gifts out that were "To Sarah From Santa", but that was it. Yet, I ate it up! I think it's the part of me that just loves believing in the impossible. The magic of Santa, flying reindeer, and all that. It made me so excited. I was always the one when my siblings were younger who was all like, "Santa's COMING!!"
I still kept up the excitement about Santa long after most of my siblings stopped believing. I was the one putting out milk and cookies... along with a bucket of water and carrots for the reindeer. You can judge me, but this is the same girl who when she was 13 years old used to leave her window open at night hoping Peter Pan would fly through her window and take her away to Neverland... Yeah I got it bad. haha.
Don't get me wrong though, I never put more weight in Santa then in the true Christmas story! I know and cherish the true meaning of Christmas, after all without Christ, there is no Christmas, but I have always been one with wild imagination. For example, for some reason I remember as a little girl telling myself that Santa was actually one of the wise men who brought presents to Jesus. Yeah... my imagination seemed to put Santa's gift giving together with the wise men presenting gifts to Jesus at Christmas. I also remember telling my younger siblings that the only reason Santa knew if you were good or bad was because Jesus told him. I guess I realized only Jesus can know what all the children in the world are doing... haha. So Santa never shadowed Jesus, I just tagged Santa along as Jesus' helper. lol.
Anyways, last Christmas was really strange... to actually watch my Mom put out the presents that said both "From Mom and Dad" and a few "From Santa". A few days before my youngest brother Nick had surprisingly announced to me that he knew Santa wasn't real. He was the last... it was a sad day. So on top of that watching my Mom put out the presents, for a moment, sort of stole the magic for me...
So as I went to bed that night, next to a crackling fire in the cabin fireplace behind my head. I watch the colors of the flames flickering on the ceiling and listened to the sound of the fire behind me. I quickly fell asleep and didn't remember much until I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night. The fire had died so the room was dark. At first, I wasn't sure what woke me, then I realized that there were sounds coming from the fireplace behind me! A sane person probably would have jumped up and turned a light on to see what was moving around in the fireplace, but, I, instead, shut my eyes tightly thinking,
"OH MY GOSH! SANTA IS REAL! HE'S COMING DOWN THE CHIMNEY RIGHT NOW!"
My heart was pounding and my mind was spinning. I remember laying there on the couch with my eyes closed wondering what I should do!? Should I talk to him? Should I pretend to be asleep? I had no idea what to do when you're 20 years old and you come face to face with Santa...
I'd love to be able to report to you all that I did talk to Santa and he was exactly as I imagined, or even that I shut my eyes the whole time and listened as he placed presents around our tiny fake Christmas tree before climbing back up the chimney.
Unfortunately neither one of those things happened.
In the end, I did open my eyes and I sat up to look over at the sounds coming from the fireplace.
And there, was my father, kneeling in front of the fireplace starting a new fire.
Really anti-climactic right? I'm not going to lie, I was thoroughly disappointed. A moment before I had been that kid from "The Polar Express" discovering Santa was real and alive a part of my life. lol.
So, what can I conclude about this "near Santa" experience I had as a 20 year old? Christmas is about celebrating Christ's birth. The moment when our fate as human beings changed because a baby was born to a virgin in the little Jewish town of Bethlehem two thousand years ago. I am so thankful for that day. I think I did learn something about faith, though. Faith is believing in something even though you don't always understand it. Jesus' birth is definitely something I don't understand, as is his death, but that only makes my faith stronger. Whether Santa is real or not, the spirit of GIVING is key to what Christmas is all about. God GAVE the world his only son on Christmas and we, as Christians also have an opportunity to give the gift of Christ's love to those around us.
So, this year, you can be sure that I will still be that girl who begs her mother to put out milk and cookies for Santa... and I'll probably spend the rest of my life imagining one of the wise men wearing a red cloak and having a bushy white beard with a twinkle in his eye. That hasn't changed, what has changed is my appreciation to God for the gift of his son, Jesus Christ.
Believe. Have Faith. And always remember that Jesus is the reason for the season ...and if you don't behave Jesus is going to tell Santa on you ;) .