Christmas is close. He is in the mall early this morning with Mom and baby sister and there, rounding the corner, is Santa.
Legendary beard, red and white outfit, black boots and, lo, walking right toward them!
After a moment of jaw-dropping awe the little guy scrambles to plant himself in the Big Guy’s path and begins talking. Fast.
“Hurry up, now,” Mom calls, with a smile. “Santa has a lot to do.”
My husband and I, witnessing this impromptu tableau, are too far away to hear the particulars of what the boy is saying but we are close enough to catch in his tone a mix of excitement and urgency, to watch him emphasize his main points with arms a-gesture.
Soon, Mom corrals her son, his mission apparently accomplished. He reluctantly follows her away from Santa stepping slowly backward as if not wanting to waste a precious second of his up close and personal with Santa, The Legend, The One and Only.
Santa, who hardly had a chance to complete an entire “Ho, ho, ho” in the exchange, waves goodbye and walks off into his busy schedule.
Although my husband and I were not close enough to hear the details we were close enough to observe the making of one spectacular yuletide memory and to log one of our own: a glimpse of a rare moment when the mix of fantasy and reality that fuel the magic of childhood merge into pure unadulterated joy.
Even on a plain Tuesday morning in the mall running errands with Mom.
Oh, the possibilities!
And we were close enough to be transported into a bit of wonder ourselves, not in the way of a little kid and a Santa but in the way of big kids still on the lookout for events infused with their own brand of joy.
Had we rushed past the scene in the usual blur to get to the bottom of our holiday list we would have missed an occasion to savor, once again, the bigger reasons for the season: opportunities to look up from what’s “to do” to see what’s “doing;” moments to relish wonder not yet dampened by doubt, tarnished by cynicism; occasions to look beyond the hype to the hope offered by gift-bearing Santas of every creed and culture.
And had my husband and I not paused to observe the gift of a little kid unexpectedly coming face to face with the epitome of his dreams (right there in the mall!) we would have missed another chance to celebrate the original Gift Giver, present still, when we, expectant still, round the corners of our own lives on any plain Tuesday or dull Thursday or ordinary Monday and look up.
Oh, the possibilities!
(up-dated and re-posted from comfort-café.net, Dec. 1st, 2008)
Photo from the public domain