Santa, here's one last letterDec 22, 2016 By Betty Starks Case
I'm seeing Christmas spirit all around me
Dear Santa, Dear Mr. Claus, Dear...
I know the kids have all their letters written. So please forgive this tardy, last-minute note. But we've endured and learned to live with below -zero temperatures in what feels like at least a week, so could you please just bring us warmer weather for Christmas?
Yes, I do remember that we asked for Christmas snow. I guess you had to deliver that a bit early in order to avoid overload on your sleigh on Christmas Eve?
By now, you can understand what good kids we've been - having dealt with long johns, cleated boots and clumsy insulated gloves to do that last-minute shopping - right here in our home town like you recommended.
Oh yes, and add to that the all-weather tires we bought a year or so ago so we could navigate slick streets like the ones we've recently had. You might classify those tires as a gift to everyone. They make us safer drivers.
But if you had time to add up all the aid these good tire folks have sent our way, I suspect you'd see us as largely over-gifted.
Now I suppose you want to know if we're sure we're ready for the big event itself?
Well, our tree is up and decorated. A graceful nativity scene adorns our fireplace mantle. Above that stands a long row of my recently departed brother's hand-made little wooden boxes, topped by the graceful blue wooden treble clef carving Earl created for his and Sharon's golden wedding anniversary décor.
On a library table in our home stands a gorgeous ruby glass vase with red leaves and gold bird arrangement my mate gave me last year.
A couple of beautiful white crocheted angels I found at local craft fairs stand on either side of the vase and small Santas surround it, one a bobblehead - just for smiles.
I always include my Snoopy figurine from the Peanuts comic strip with his puny little Christmas tree made beautiful. Snoopy reminds us that all need not be expensive to be enchanting.
We once visited a friend who procrastinated until a sad little tree like Snoopy's was all that was left. We decorated it with laughter, teasing and suggesting our friend may have been sipping holiday booze when he should have been hunting a tree.
Then there's my lovely glass angel, a gift from my husband. This one emits rainbow-like rays from her body. All heavenly creatures to me.
On a small table across the room, Santa rides his loaded sleigh, pulled by a huge deer through sparkling snow-like woods of glass trees. This Santa has probably been a part of our Christmas décor since Son was a teen.
Santa doesn't sing like he once did, but his smile is still warm and his cheeks rosy and round. We believe he still carries the spirit.
Another thing, Mr. Claus, did you by any chance dispense some of your elves to duty in our area?
One evening following that recent snowstorm, we heard a growling sound and found our driveway mysteriously cleared.
Then about five different people appeared at our door with delicious Christmas goodies to eat. One brought along four little stuffed beings who sang a delightful rendition of "Partridge in A Pear Tree."
Another brings the newspaper to the planter near our door then slips away like - well, like one of your elves might. I watch for him, but he has either disappeared or waves from the distance.
And there's more. On a recent shopping day, we noticed handsome young men here and there strolling the huge parking lot of a big store.
Did we lock our doors? Were these characters trying to find a way to break into cars and steal Christmas gifts?
Instead, here's what we heard: "Did you lose your car? What make and color is it? We'll help you find it."
These guys spent their day watching for people with full shopping carts wandering around the parking lot trying to recall where they'd parked their cars.
I asked one if he was Santa's elf.
He denied it with, "I'm too big for that."
I just had to remind him, "But you do have the heart for the job."
Finally, dear Mr. Claus, if this entire letter seems a bit strange in place of a column, I'd end with British author Neil Gaiman's observation, "Life is always going to be stranger than fiction. Fiction has to be convincing, and life doesn't."
While we're remembering that, let us not forget that "Wise men still seek Him" - the One for whom this season is named. The One who shows us how to live - even when life isn't convincing.