…“It would be, except this place, of all the places in the world, offers the one thing every child, every person, needs. Whether they are ill and in the hospital or dealing with some other troubles in their lives… Hope.”From The Day After Christmas: Part XII
A smile grew wide on Emily’s face. “Of course, hope. Hope may be invisible, but it is always with us.”
IF YOU WANT TO START AT THE BEGINNING HERE’S THE LINK TO PART I OF THE STORY CLICK HERE
The Day After Christmas: The Last Secret
Climbing back aboard the sleigh, Emily sat quietly, looking up at all the stars.
“So what have we learned?” asked Emma.
Emily remained silent for a long moment, gathering her thoughts. “Well, it would seem the real secret to keeping the spirit of Christmas is simple. Each place we went taught us something. Here’s what I learned.”
Celebrate what you had, and what you have, don’t focus on what you’ve lost
The joy of gifts is in the giving.
Better to have one real friend than hundreds of pretend ones.
Our challenges do not define us, but how we face them does
Happiness exists only when it is shared with others
Age is a state of mind
Remember the past, look forward to the future, live in the moment
Be one of the few things worth remembering
Hope may be invisible, but it is always with us
“All of that is true, my dear. But there is one more thing to learn.” She picked up the reins, then, with a wink of her eye that reminded Emily of Santa, said, “You might want to hold on.” And with that, the sleigh rocketed straight into the sky… and kept going. At about 50,000 thousand feet, they released the reindeer.
“Ah, don’t we need them to fly?” Emily asked.
“Most of the time. We will come back for them later. They like being free once in a while. We’ve made some modern additions to the sleigh… we just haven’t told Santa yet.” Emma uncovered a secret compartment. “Let’s keep this part of the trip to ourselves, okay?” She winked, then pushed a black button.
“Tell me what you see, Emily.”
Emily glanced at Emma, then relaxed her death grip on the sleigh. “Is that the Earth?”
“It is indeed, and what do you see?”
“Well, I see the oceans and the continents and clouds.”
“Now what is it you don’t see?”
“Don’t see? I don’t understand, Emma. What do you mean?”
“Do you see borders, or boundaries, or fences? Do you see tribes, or countries, or races?”
“No, of course not.”
That’s because all of that is artificial. All fabricated. None of it matters when you look at it from this perspective. We are all people of earth on a small blue marble in a universe full of wonder and magic.”
“So all those things we learned really are everywhere if we just know how to look for them?”
“That’s it, Emily. When it comes to the spirit of Christmas, often we miss the most important aspect. You see, my dear, if you focus on what is wrong you miss all the good in the world. And with magical things like the Christmas Spirit, There are some things in the universe that cannot be measured, they have to be experienced.
“Everyone leads different lives. Sometimes it is full of joy, sometimes sorrow, but as long as we remember to hold on to hope, there is always tomorrow for dreams to come true. Now why don’t you take another look at your data there and tell me what you see.”
Emily opened her laptop, and green dots covered the map. There were still a few red dots, and she knew now that there always would be, but they would come and go in the face of hope.
“What say we head back to Christmas Town and let everybody know we solved the problem,” said Emma. “Oh, and one more thing.”
“Let’s let Santa believe the whole thing was his idea. I like to let him believe he’s in charge.”
Emily laughed. “Okay, Emma, this will be our little secret.”
And with that, they gathered up the reindeer and flew back home, where Emily would let Santa give everyone the good news.
Thus ends the story of The Day After Christmas. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little jaunt into my imagination and that your Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever it is you celebrate is everything you want it to be.
Merry Christmas 2021,
P.S. Take a moment to read this last thought before you drift off to sleep and dream of sugarplums…you’ll be rewarded at the end with another cute picture of my grandson!
Thought on this Christmas Eve (reprinted from 2017)
On September 21, 1897, the editor of New York’s Sun newspaper captured the spirit of Christmas with these words,
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…”
Seven words with an unanticipated longevity to the truth they proclaimed. The answer to a question from an 8-year-old girl.
This 8-year-old girl, facing life’s reality, sort reassurance from the authority of a newspaper. Imagine the quandary facing that editor, tell the truth or chip away at innocence?
He demonstrated great wisdom. He told the truth. A truth that holds to this day.
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…”
This is a spirit different than religious traditions. It is a non-denominational phenomenon crossing cultural boundaries and containing a powerful message.
It is easy to lose hope in this world. One begins to wonder if evolution has slowed when it comes to the humanness of humankind.
Or given up on us entirely.
Despite this I say, now more than ever, yes there is a Santa Claus. Even among those who hold no such traditions. The spirit lives in the commonality of our being human.
All we need is a willingness to give for the sake of giving. To seek our happiness by making others happy.
We can share the experience of watching the wonder in the eyes of a small child. See the spark of the spirit come alive and grow within them. Embrace the comfort of old friendships, the warmth of family, or just the companionship of a good dog (but never a cat…okay, a cat as well.)
We all yearn to make others happy and feel the satisfaction of bringing joy to those we love. Or those we are yet to meet.
We can find solace in those same words; Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
It is within us all. All we need do is open our minds.
So, no matter where your tradition comes from. Be it a generous caring man of a different era, proclaimed a Saint, and turned into the legend of Santa Claus. Or a celebration of another tradition with equal import to your memories. Whatever you celebrate, in this Christmas season and from here on, I wish for you;
To have no regrets except for things you didn’t do.
To never to be afraid of failing at anything, except failing to try.
To remember the past, but waste no time on it.
To look forward to the future, but understand you cannot control it.
To hold onto hope, no matter what.
To embrace your moments in this life, once past they can never be reclaimed.
To find what fills your heart with smiles and have it grow, like the Grinch’s, three sizes this day.
To find that childlike spirit long buried by the cares of the real world.
To let the shackles of growing up fall away.
To dance like Snoopy to the music of Schroeder.
To understand, like Linus, it is the spirit that matters.
To know there is always tomorrow for dreams to come true. Even on your last day on this earth, the dreams of those we leave behind live on.
To work for a future of a world filled with laughter.
To understand it is through our differences we share the commonality of being human.
To be a child again, if but for one moment. To hear the far-off sounds of jingling bells. To see a faint red light of a magical reindeer approaching in the cold winter sky. To feel the excitement at the footsteps of a jolly old man on the roof of your memories.
The best part of the Spirit of Christmas is it is within our power to keep it well all the rest of our days.
Happy Christmas to all and to all a lifetime of good nights!