A recent conversation with my six-year-old son, who still believes in Santa despite peers and an older brother’s influence:
“Mom, why do grown-ups not make very good wishes?”
“What do you mean, buddy?”
“Well, it’s just that most of the time, grown-ups wish for books or boring collector things instead of anything fun for Christmas.”
“Hmmm, I think maybe because grown-ups know how much things cost, and so they save their wishes for things that they didn’t buy themselves throughout the year or things that would be easier for someone to get for them.”
“But, they could just ask Santa!”
Oh yes, they could just ask Santa. I forgot about that.
“Yeah, that’s true. Sometimes I think grown-ups have a hard time asking for really big things. For example, if I had a wish, I might ask for an entire day where our family has fun together and everyone shows love to one another without any fighting or meltdowns. But, to me, that feels kind of impossible.”
“Oh mom! That can totally happen! You just have to believe.”
At this point, my memories flashed back to last December when it randomly snowed in South Texas. My sweet little guy bolted out into the darkness, and with snowflakes swirling all around him, exclaimed, “It’s a Christmas miracle! Good job Santa!” My tender heart could hardly contain the goodness of the moment, and I consciously chose to let the moment be about a miracle from Santa instead of a reminder about God.
“How true. I have to believe. So, who do you think is better at giving wishes? God or Santa?
“Seriously? God of course.”
He then went on to simply describe his belief system and how he concluded that God is more powerful than Santa.
As I listened, I was reminded once again why I have faith.
While shuffling through a storage container filled with photographs, I found one of myself on Christmas morning in 1981. Empty stockings are pinned to the wall behind me as I proudly display a fresh white roller skate for the camera. Maybe it is because I was only four years old, but I don’t recall ever receiving skates for Christmas. Honestly, until discovering the photograph, I was convinced that we didn’t have stockings during my childhood. Our family didn’t believe in Santa. He didn’t fill our stockings. We believed in Jesus. He didn’t fill our stockings either.
Recently while watching a Christmas movie with my husband and boys, I found myself laughing the most genuine laughter that I had heard from myself in recent months. As the movie continued, I wiped streams of tears from my blushing cheekbones. Questioning my emotions, I curiously explored my reaction over the scenes that unfolded.
In an effort to prove that he was indeed Santa to jaded adults, Santa began to reveal wishes from Christmases past as well as current unspoken wishes. Those moments of being seen and known eventually soften their hearts, making believers out of grown-ups once again.
Believers, all over again.
Bethany Cabell, a lover of simplicity, is often inspired to write by the relationships she holds as a wife, mom, and a physical therapist. Bethany, her husband and their boys returned to life in Texas after wandering off to the Midwest for a season. What she once pictured her life to look like has forever been changed by her two sons. Navigating this messy and beautiful path of parenting two children each with their own unique challenges, she finds grace and beauty in the gift of each moment.