My Annual Letter from “Santa”
Reading my annual letter from Santa was even more exciting than receiving gifts. The letter waxed eloquent on my good behavior over the year (which may or may not have been entirely true). I was always intrigued with how Santa knew the details of my life: like the time I skinned my knee running across the school yard or the time the school bully socked me in the stomach or the time when I aced my spelling test. But I only met Santa when we snapped pictures together at the local mall every December. How could he know all this stuff? Did Santa have some secret intelligence on me?
(And never mind that Santa’s handwriting strangely resembled my father’s penmanship. Hmm…)
It was nice knowing Santa cared enough to write a long, thoughtful letter (and leave me a Cabbage Patch Kid too!) As a child, December held a special quality unmatched by the other eleven months of the year. It was a time when people seemed to smile a little brighter, laugh a little louder, and acted a little kinder.
As I grew older, I found out that Santa wasn’t real, and I had lost that magic. The gifts were from my parents, and the letter was from my dad. I became jaded by all the holiday stuff, and I lost my sense of wonder. This feeling grew until I sensed my heart turning cold and unthankful. I never appreciated the fact that my father had painstakingly wrote a letter to me every year. I never expressed gratitude that my parents went out of their way to purchase and wrap presents for me every year. Their money could’ve been spent on something more practical.
My ungratefulness spilled over into every area of my life until my soul became weighed down. Frustrated, I then started paying attention to the ordinary life around me. I kept a list of all the things, small and large, for which I could be thankful. At first, I kept the list in my head. Then I wrote it in a journal. I recently started to share some of my list on my social media. Over time, I recaptured the magic and the miracles hidden in the mundane.
Santa didn’t write me an annual letter. That was a fairy tale. My father wrote the letter, a man who works hard every day, a man who had experienced some disappointments but still gave me the gift to dream. A man who, today, still talks about his hopes and his plans for the future. He carries the wonder of the season.
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