Santa is Real.

One Christmas morning I awoke to a miracle. There before my 9-year-old eyes were the ashen footprints of Santa Claus himself. I followed them with my eyes from the fireplace to the Christmas tree and vividly imagined that vibrant red suit shuffling around our tree, neatly placing each present in its place. “How did he fit through our chimney?” I thought as I waddled back to my parents room to wake them for the festivities, “Gosh… I hope he got me the Power Ranger Megazord toy I wanted…”  On that morning, I believed in magic.

Now here I am in Korea, long after the beans have been properly spilled, remembering the magical feeling of that morning. Of course, eventually I noticed the striking resemblance some old boots in our closet had to the footprints I saw that day. And then, the very next Christmas I walked into my parents room, demanding answers, and a small piece of my innocence withered away. But today I am reminded of that magic, because I find myself in a very similar situation to the one my parents must have faced all those years ago.

My parents knew that as I got older, eventually, the magic of Christmas would die, and they would no longer be able to see that look of amazement on my face. So, they went to the trouble of staging a visit by Santa, even going so far as to take a bite out of one of the cookies left for him.  And it worked! That is, until I later found out he wasn’t real. But if they were willing to go to all that trouble in the first place, maybe there was something deeper to believe in.

You see, I know as these students get older, eventually, they will lose their youthful optimism, and I will probably never see their faces again. So, while I am here I am going to do everything I can to make them believe in something… even if it means making a fool of myself in the process. In these three short months I have seen a change in many of them; Changes in the form of notes on my desks in English from students I’ve never heard speak and smiles on the faces of students who once gave me scowls. Even the teachers I work with seem happier, and I don’t really know why.

THE TAKEAWAY: Santa may not be real, but what he represents certainly is. He represents the human ability to believe in something greater than themselves. And so now, in this lonely December of mine, I am reminded that I am blessed with the ability to represent something to these students. Whether it be the hope that one day they can travel, live in another country, or be whatever it is their heart desires, really does not matter. I just hope one day they realize, that the ash footprints I am putting in front of them now, while they sleep, someday may lead them somewhere great. 

Footprints to follow...

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8 thoughts on “Santa is Real.

    • I don’t think joy loses credibility. I think that it’s core reason simply changes with age, eventually leading to a more consistent joy stemming from appreciation of the moment.

  1. I think this is beautiful and while you might have realized that Santa is not real, this does not mean that there is nothing larger than you that might be believed in or understood. Santa Claus mediates a larger truth.

  2. Hey, it’s been a while but everytime i read your post it reminds me of the people that are out there changing the world. You are the Santa that dropped in on these kids and taught them to believe in something greater than themselves. Only God knows what else you have in your bag of toys but i pray that you leave it alll with them and that you spare no one from the power to believe in a life worth living! You may not be able to travel all around the world in one day, but you can inspire them to change their world and to even fly to other places in the world in order to spread their joy and their hope in others. May God bless you as you bless HIS!!!

  3. As you’ll see from the date of this post, I’m a bit behind in my correspondence but, even Steven Hawking admits he’s not sure time there’s such a thing as time, which says I’m in good company not being too concerned about it.

    By the way, we’re signed up to see Steve Hawking give a lecture at the Flint Auditorium this month. I’m guessing he’ll be talking about his new book.

    As usual, a thoughtful and interesting blog.

    • I agree with you, there is no such thing as time. And I have heard mixed reviews about Hawking’s book. Let me know your thoughts about it when you get the chance!

      As always, thank you for keeping in touch.

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