When I was about six, I believed in Santa for about two hours. The neighborhood kids were telling me about the importance of sending this great mythical jolly man a letter. That was how one got presents and everything one wanted for Christmas. So, I wrote a letter and labeled the envelope with a guess as to where it should be delivered. I hoped my mom knew the rest of the address. I left it on the table for her to find and mail next time we went to the post office.
Then, I found it in the trash. So, maybe Santa wasn’t real. Or maybe, Santa lives in a trash heap. Either way, my letter was garbage.
I find it interesting how this season is so often about what you can give and get. I love to give presents, to the point that I once spent $2,000 on Christmas when I only made $500 a month. Credit cards were paid off, but some of the things I purchased were never used.
However, Christmas and Thanksgiving are about gratitude and a celebration of the ultimate gifts we have: our faith and our freedom. Settlers came here to avoid religious persecution. Some criminals were sent here as a means of completing their sentences. I cannot say that our ancestors were perfect, but I am grateful that they worked hard and began the foundation of this country.
Children love Santa, but why not invite them to love true history and practice gratitude for more than that gift in the catalogue. I remember being upset about the letter being thrown in the garbage, but I guess that was one way that I knew, for sure, there was no Santa and that my gifts came from a more unconditional source: my parents and God.
So, as we enter this season, I encourage you to practice gratitude for the many blessings you have and maybe for the things you don’t have. Our plights in life enable us to do far more for ourselves and others than we even know. While there may be a struggle, in the twinkling of that struggle, there is opportunity.
Faith and Freedom: May they greet you each day and sleep by you at night.