By Amy McCollom
I snuck out of my room in the middle of the night, and crawled down the hall so no one would see me. I peeked into the dark living room, and I could see it. There it was. The chrome trim on the black drum set glinted as the street light in front of our house shown through the small rectangle windows in our door. My heart jumped up in my throat. I couldn’t believe it. I was finally getting what I asked for this year instead of underwear and socks and a scratchy sweater that matched my sister. I had been hoping and praying for months that this would happen. I was so excited.
Then I felt my sister’s arm on me, shaking me, and I heard her voice,
“Hey, get up, it’s morning. Let’s go see what we got for Christmas.”
Drat, it was a dream. Or was it?! I ran down the hall to the living room, but there was no drum set there. My heart sank, and it was then that I stopped believing in the magic of Christmas.
Years later, I’m a teacher’s aide, working in a first-grade classroom. The head teacher got called to the office, and left me to read a book to the students for story-time. After I had finished reading the book, and the teacher still had not returned, I fumbled for something to do in the meantime. I began asking the children questions about the book I had just read to them. Little hands raised all around me. After about the fourth child answered, I called on Sam, a little blonde-haired boy with a crooked grin, who was just a little more street-wise than the other kids. He asked me,
“Mrs. McCollom, isn’t it true that your parents put presents under the tree at Christmas, that Santy Claus is a fake?”
This was met with a loud outcry of 6-year olds, yelling at Sam to shut- up, to quit lying, yelling for me to tell the truth about Santy Claus, and some kids started pulling books off the shelves around them and flinging them at Sam. Sam just grinned that half-grin and covered his head with his arms.
I stood there in the middle of twenty-three six-year olds, who were mad, sad, laughing, crying, throwing books, wiping their nose on my skirt, and running circles around the room screaming, “Santa is a liar.” At that moment, the teacher walked back into the room. I don’t know if that was a good or bad thing. She retired soon after that. I, on the other hand, did not.
I went on to try and be the best mom I can be. Not wanting my twins (Rosa and Rudy – I have two sets) to find out from class peers about the “Santa truth,” I decided on their fifth birthday that it was time for them to know. I asked my husband to help me explain it, but he left it up to me, since it was my idea, and since I am the creative one in our marriage, he explained, the chicken liver. So I sat them down and said,
“Kids, you know how at Christmas time, you wake up on Christmas morning and there are presents under the tree? Well, I put them there.”
I waited a minute for their reaction as I watched their eyes shift around in wild directions.
“You mean you’re an elf?” Rosa said?
“No, I’m not an elf.”
Rudy looked up with a smile and said, “You’re Santa. This is the best news ever. Can we tell our friends?”
Rosa smiled, “Yeah, can we tell our friends?”
“No, don’t tell your friends I’m Santa. I’m not Santa. I am trying to tell you there is no Santa.”
The twins laughed,
“Sure Mom. It’s a secret. We won’t tell….”
Well, they found out later when they didn’t get a unicorn for Christmas that I really wasn’t Santa Claus after all. It took me a few years to understand, but I know now where the magic lies. I have been trying all the rest of these years to show everyone else the real magic of Christmas. Through my life, my actions, my kindness, my giving, my interests, my worship, and my sacrifices, I will try and always, always remember the real reason for Christmas and embrace the true gift that has been given to me and all mankind. Therewith lies the magic of Christmas. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son…(John 3:16)