believe

christmas

It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there — fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.

~ Love Actually (2003) written and directed by Richard Curtis and FREE on Netflix right now!

It’s hard to feel love these last few days before Christmas when you’re ready to poke your eyes out with the nearest candy cane.  Maybe you’re already captive in a house full of dreary relatives, or maybe you’re dreading the three connections you’ll make tomorrow in airports clogged with other grumpy travelers, or perhaps you’re still chasing a neverending stream of holiday parties or haunted by cards you’ve yet to get into the mail or grumbling for whatever reason this Christmas.   If that’s the case, the cure just might be to spend a few minutes with a child.  Get a hold of one however you can and talk to them about Christmas.  I know I am a terrible mother for wanting to rush this Santa thing along, but whenever I stop to talk to my kids about him and look back on my memories of Christmas morning, all the heaviness I feel subsides.

Recently I caught biggest love styling her hair into a chic bun for ballet class and decided to check in with her, wondering whether she still believed in Santa, because secretly, I want to go to midnight mass with her this year and then come home in the cold dark night and have her help me unload the sleigh while everyone else is sleeping.  I thought, I need an elf and she’s eleven and nearly writing her doctoral thesis — it’s long past time she unravels the mystery already — but she still BELIEVES!  She turned from the mirror, gave me this incredulous look and said, You’re not going to ruin this for me like you did the Tooth Fairy, right?  I just want to keep Santa going for a little while longer, Mom.  But I’m wondering just how much longer and whether I haven’t been too good a magic maker.  They still believe!  Oh, do you remember when you still believed?!

I recall one Christmas Eve in particular.  It was the year my brother, sister and I moved from our mother’s apartment into our father’s house and I shared a room with my brother and our new step brother.  They had bunk beds against another wall and I slept underneath this enormous window that looked out onto a cherry tree in our backyard.  I specifically asked my parents to leave the curtains open because there was a full moon that night, and I wanted to stay awake so I could see Santa’s sleigh in silhouette fly across its shimmering face like it did in the television programs we so enjoyed each Christmas.  I watched and watched that moon as long as I could but at some point my eyes closed and I fell asleep.  In all that time I lay awake I never heard my parents bumping packages around or grumbling on the other side of the door.  All I remember is the moon and the anticipation of something magical.  To be a child filled with wonder — it’s sometimes hard to imagine anymore as filled with anxiety and expectations and disappointment as we are.

We fret over the ecological impact of all that wrapping paper mess and worry about the trash bins being already full with the shipping boxes we’ve been stealthily ferrying out of the house and where we’re possibly going to fit all these new gifts because the shelves and closets are already overflowing.  We believe in the mess of Christmas.  Hope.  Love?  Well those are things on hold until January 2nd — when all the Valentine’s merchandise hits the shelves.  And so on we go.  If you’re stressed out and grumbling, maybe take a deep breath with me, grab a child if you can or borrow mine and before you start frantically organizing your New Year’s Yard Sale,  just stop for one moment to thank God for this glorious Christmas wonder seen through the eyes of a child.  Thank God you’ve got a family and friends who annoy you and a home cluttered with possessions.  Thank God you’ve got people to run around for, for their expectations and even for their disappointments.  Because love actually is everywhere in all that mess, if you look for it and believe.

Love is what’s with you in the room at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.

~ Anonymous child 7 years old, when asked “What is love?”

santaletter1

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Comments

  1. so precious & so very real, gives me a lump in my heart as I now reread what Bob read to me Saturday morning while we were finishing breakfast. I was touched by the picture and by this loving and strong man sobbing like a child, so much that he had to stop before he continued reading. thank you, Rebecca, for the wisdom and love embed in these postings!

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