The magic of Christmas is a gift for the child in all of us, carried forward throughout a life.
One windy December, our chosen tree was cut and carried into the living room for the laborious job of setting the trunk into the footed contraption. While the tree remained on its side, suddenly a new job presented itself, thanks to gusty winds overnight.
Dad would go to the roof to adjust the TV antennae while my older sister remained beside the television. My job as go-between was to stand at the foot of the stairs and holler loud enough for my father to hear when the fuzzy picture seemed to be returning to normal.
“Getting better!” my sister would say, and my job was to shout it forward. “No, no, it’s worse again!”
The entire process seemed to take a great deal of time, though I’m sure it really wasn’t as long as it felt. I worried my dear dad would slip on the roof, or perhaps his hands would freeze to the contrary antennae contraption that poked skyward from our old house roof.
“It’s good right there!” my sister proclaimed, finally.
Dad would climb back in the upstairs bedroom window with great relief, bringing the cold and snow in with him.
“Let’s hope we don’t have to do that again until Spring!” Dad would say every single time. But, it seems to me we were never that lucky, and the whole production would have to be repeated on the coldest day when other jobs were lining up, needing time and attention.
Mystery of Santa
One snowy December day after successfully completing the antennae turning job, I happened to look out that bedroom window. Snow was falling, and Dad’s rooftop footsteps were slowly disappearing. It looked like we were living within a snow globe, the slope of the roof turning smooth and glistening with silvery snow.
“Do you think that is the part of the roof where Santa will land?” I asked my dad. “It seems like there is no way it’s big enough for the reindeer AND the sleigh to stop. And what if they wreck into the antennae?”
I had non-stop questions, and Dad played it all off with reassurance that no one needed to worry about Santa.
We needed to finish decorating the tree, stringing popcorn and cranberries, while we enjoyed a Christmas special on television. The stockings were placed and wishes were bantered about.
On Christmas morning, the stockings were filled with oranges and nuts and a candy cane. Wrapped gifts appeared, one or two for each of us. The day was merry and bright, the joy felt as we celebrated the birth of baby Jesus in a manger far away and long ago.
The year that stays with me is this one: As I carried something to that upstairs bedroom, I glanced out to the roof that led to our demanding TV antennae. There, in that perfect covering of snow, was a set of tiny, tiny footprints. I called for my sisters to come quickly, because I had just solved one of the mysteries of Santa’s landing.
The reindeer, it turned out, were miniature in form, though they somehow carried burly Santa and all the gifts everywhere he needed to go.
“That’s crazy! Those almost look like cat prints,” my older sister observed.
From that day forward, I felt like we were the only ones in the whole world who knew an enormous part of the mystery of Santa and his reindeer, powerful and mighty, but no bigger than a cat. Magical, indeed.
From my home to yours, I wish you a holy, happy, magical Christmas.
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