I'm 37 years old and I believe in Santa Claus. I really do. Let me tell you why--and then maybe you will also. It seems a good thing to do for a Christmas Eve post.I didn't always believe in him. In fact, while I was growing up, I didn't believe in him. My sweet mom really wanted the focus to be on Baby Jesus (and rightly so), consequently Santa just wasn't a big part of our celebrations.I was never anti-Santa, I thought he seemed harmless enough, but he just didn't figure in to my life much. Until I was married with children.A lot of you know the next part of the story. On my mission, I became quite ill. I managed to struggle along through the complete two years, but I came home severely weakened and exhausted. I fell in love, got married and we started our family. Then I relapsed and the sickness came back with a vengeance.Those years are a blur for me. For basically three years I could do nothing but lay in my bed and sleep. On good days I was able to watch a little tv. I had to drop out of school and it was impossible to work. Poor Mere was a single mother for all intents and purposes--two little boys to take care of in addition to a sick husband. It was terribly, incredibly, perpetually bleak during those years. There was not much to cheer us as we trudged through the soul-numbing bleakness that was always there.We're coming up on the anniversary of my healing, and for those interested, I'll write more about that as we get closer to that. Eventually, though, I was healed. But what I learned was that the absence of illness did not make me strong and healthy. That was a process that came slowly. I went back to school and work. But after three years, we were in a pretty deep hole--financially and emotionally.Christmas came the next year. We were grateful that I wasn't sick any more, but there were a lot of residual effects. I was way behind in school, we had no money, and Christmas was going to be fairly sparse for our kids--and now there were three of them. That was ok. We weren't miserable or anything--but it wasn't exactly terribly festive, either. Then, one night we heard a noise outside. Someone left a beautiful artificial Christmas tree on our doorstep. That was followed by decorations and some other things. That really brightened our holiday. Then, several nights before Christmas, we heard the distinct sound of bells outside. I opened the door and went to see what it was. I opened the door and Santa Claus walked in. I'm not joking. Just like that. He came in and asked if he could sit down. He had a helper then bring in several laundry baskets full of gifts, all wrapped beautifully. The new tree, by the way, is in the background. David and Spencer were in bed, but we ran and got them. Thankfully, we had film in the camera! Their eyes were like plates. Sadly, Toria was a baby and was asleep, so she missed out. There were lots of gifts for all of us--things we wanted, things we needed, and everything was in the right sizes, too.
Of course, the gifts were nice--really, really nice--but the greater gift was the way our hearts were lifted up and the love that was so clearly manifest. To this day, we aren't sure who was behind this. We racked our brains and went over every possibility. But we never found out. And they made that Christmas for us. We remember--and relive this--every year. Whoever you are, thank you so much.
And then I realized that we didn't need to know. Santa Claus was behind it. He was responsible. That was when Santa became real to me. And what is Santa? I believe that he is the embodiment of the kindness we show each other. He is the name we give to the urge to do something nice for someone else. He is the incarnation of all the good will that we feel during this time of the year.
I've never felt a conflict between my belief in Santa and my belief in the Savior. To me, Santa is the name for doing what the Savior would have us do. Ultimately, the Savior is the source of the goodwill that finds an expression in the acts we perform as Santa. Perhaps that's redudant. I don't know. But it works for me.
All I know is that Santa is real. I met him many years ago on a cold night in Wymount Terrace.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Brigden and his new bedroom (shared w/ Harris) in his new CARS pajamas.
Halen and her new bedroom in her new pajams