Saturday, December 26, 2009

A child for life

Late on Christmas Eve my grandson spotted an intruder in our home.

I suppose "intruder" isn't exactly the right word since this old man was welcome and expected. Still, we never knew what time he will arrive and he never bothers to knock on the door or announce himself.

Isaiah was awakened by his dad about 11:30. They crept silently down the stairs and peeked around the corner into the parlor.

And, there he was! The man who keeps us tethered securely to our childhood sense of miracles, joy and wonder.

As we watch helplessly, first our children and then theirs grow inexorably closer to grownup problems and occasional tragedy. We want nothing more than to hold them on our laps, suspended in time forever, but they just won't sit still.

Some may argue that showing a child Santa Claus in his own home is an artful deceit that grooms him for disappointment. I beg to differ.

I never saw Santa in our house but he always came. I believe in him with all my heart.

On cold December nights I would perch in my bedroom window and scan the sky for a flying sleigh pulled by magical reindeer. I was no fool, even at seven or eight. But I believed it was possible to see Santa on his journey because I wanted to believe.

To this day I look at the sky every Christmas Eve and wonder where the old elf is at that moment. And while I'm looking for him I see something else, something I see nearly every night of my life and yet rarely notice.

I see the heavens. All of God's stars are there and somewhere among them is the One that made all this childhood joy possible and ageless.

And every Christmas Eve I am a child again. A child for life. And so shall my children be thanks to the miracle of one night every year.

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