My mother always took me to see Santa at Woodward and Lothrops Department Store in Washington, D.C. Yes, that is me sitting on Santa's knee. I have no idea how old I was.
Do you remember being so anxious for Santa to arrive? Lying in bed, listening for the sounds of his arrival... I was always fearful he would leave if I didn't remain quiet, so I snuggled down into the covers, daring not move. What I didn't know was that my parents had stayed up late to decorate the tree so when I experienced Christmas morning, the entire house had been transformed from its normal appearance into a child's dream of Santa having visited. When I was a little older, they told me they were helping Santa out by decorating for him ahead of his arrival. I guess they'd had enough of the late hours hanging balls, throwing tinsel and stringing lights!
We always left out a dish of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa. I was quick in the morning to inspect the evidence that Santa had been there. "Nope, no cookies left! Santa was here!" I have pictures of those early Christmases at our home on Taney Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia. I remember the memories fondly, what bits and pieces I still remember. Especially Santa flying in the sky... with his reindeer... and sleigh.
For children, Christmas is all about Santa Clause; at least in most families. It's considered harmless fun that focuses on the joy of Christmas. What's more joyous than receiving presents, right? Certainly for children, that is very true. As adults we know the reason for the season is the birth of Christ. As children grow old enough to understand, they will come to appreciate the birth of the baby Jesus, too. I understand that not everyone recognizes Christmas as a time to celebrate the birth of our savior. But Christians do make that acknowledgement. Jesus is the reason for the season! Since becoming a Christian in 2017, I have come to appreciate more fully the reason for the season. I used to dance around, carefully using certain words, rather than offend anyone by saying, "Merry Christmas!" I would always say, "Happy Holidays!" That day has passed, that ship has sailed. I now am eager to say, "Merry Christmas" to one and all. Actually, it is quite freeing to say it.
I read an article recently, written by a Jewish man, who was commenting on the phrase Merry Christmas and how some people are afraid to offend others. Interestingly, he wrote that he didn't find it offensive at all, quite the contrary. He welcomed the phrase and often responded by using the same phrase. He found Merry Christmas to be a happy, joyous greeting. Where was the harm? There was none. And there is none. We have a right to greet people with cheer and joy. If it bothers someone that I am cheerful and joyous, whose problem is that? It certainly isn't mine!
"T'is the season to be jolly; fa la la la la, la la la la." Please be jolly! Please be happy! Be generous! Be kind to everyone you meet! And wish them a very Merry Christmas!!