This isn’t your ordinary Christmas letter. I’m not sending a long list of gizmos and gadgets that will unfurl across the workshop floor. In fact, I’m pretty well set with stuff this year. I just wanted to say thank you.
I don’t really know when I stopped believing in you. I can’t recall a traumatic scene where I saw dad unloading presents under the tree and I certainly never saw you plant a kiss on mom – I can’t imagine the confusion that would have caused. No, mine is the garden variety of unbelief. Somewhere along the way, I guess I got too old, too mature. I wanted to be all grown up. Looking back, I think when it happened, I lost myself, not you.
I began chasing what I thought was important and neglecting what you stand for: consistency, generosity, peace, love, joy. You can’t blame me, I was young. I didn’t know. It’s what everyone else was doing. But regardless of what I believed, or where I was, you showed up – year after year like clockwork. You relentlessly pursued me despite my rejection.
I married a woman who never forgot. She tried to bring me back around when we were newlyweds but I only saw price tags and expenses through the lens of a limited budget. I didn’t get it. I couldn’t see… until children came. Through their innocent eyes, I found you again.
All the while I thought you were there for them, but you were gently bringing me back into the fold, too. There was always something in your bag for me. Even though I stayed in the back and watched from a distance, I loved every minute of it. You had some rough encounters with number three. Your beard was a little much for her. But you patiently waited until she understood.
Little number four loved you from the start. She loved everything about Christmas and nothing more than you, Santa. The elves you entrusted her with made December special for many years. She truly loved you.
I use the past tense because we lost her to cancer almost four years ago. I think you know that, Santa, but I’m not completely positive because you still visit her here. Still, you show up. When that first Christmas came around, I didn’t think I wanted to see you – all that you stand for had departed with her and you could only bring memories. Yet there you were in your frumpy red suit, spreading joy that admittedly felt somewhat fake at the time. But nevertheless, you were there.
These last four Decembers have been hard. But lately I’m figuring something out that I should have learned long ago: it’s not about me. Santa always gives and never takes. And when I set my heavy bag down to lay things out for someone else, my burden is lighter. In doing for others, I somehow find peace and joy for me. That’s kind of what you’re about, isn’t it Santa? How did I not see that before?
And this year, you asked if you could meet us early… just to say “hi” to one of your biggest fans. It was only a minute. But you’ll never know what it meant to me. It was a reprieve from everything I feel like she is missing. It was sweet, and it was special. It was Christmas.
I realize that for the rest of my life, Christmas have a hard edge because it makes me miss little number four. But from now on, I want you with me, Santa.
Thank you, Santa.
Thank you for not giving up on this poor old fool. I know it took a long time, but I believe again. And this time it’s for good.