There was no heat in the bedrooms at Grandma Hattie’s country home. I snuggled under the soft warm quilts. Sleeping in Grandma Hattie’s sweet smelling feather bed was wonderful. I felt like an angel on a fluffy cloud. I stared at the full moon through the frosty window pane. Grandma’s big shaggy dog, Sailor, was sharing the bed with me.
“I wonder if Santa knows where I am? Grandma hung a stocking for me here so it’s possible I’ll still be here for Christmas.” I whispered as I patted Sailor’s head.
Through the window I could see Grandpa’s smokehouse, the outhouse and the big red barn. From this vantage point I imagined I would be able to see Santa’s sleigh and reindeer take off and upward over the barn.
“Maybe Mama will come here too, when she gets out of the hospital,” I thought.
I’d been taught that December 25 was mainly about celebrating Jesus’ Birthday, but I wanted Santa to be real too.
My older cousins told me to “Git over it kid! There ain’t no Santa!” Yet I still believed in him.
“Ellen Jane! Don’t listen to cousin J.R.,” Aunt B said as she sat down on the bed. “There is some truth to the Santa story”
“Really?” I sat up wanting to hear more.
“Santa is the spirit of Christmas. A good spirit that moves people to give and help others. But, he may not always be dressed in a red suit. Like an Angel he directs those that are able to share blessings with others.”
“The Bible speaks of giving gifts. For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, the wise men gave precious gifts, the shepherds gave out the message. That’s the true spirit of Christmas.” I yawned,
I knew all that already, but I still want Santa in the red suit I reasoned.
Aunt B smiled as she pulled the covers up under my chin.
“Well If I know your Mama, Santa will probably come to your house for a long time to come.” (and he did)
Here I am now, a Grandma myself. The child in me still rises up when I see a silhouette of Santa’s sleigh and reindeer against a December full moon.
The spirit of those Christmases of long ago, abides with me. I see a full December moon, shadows, from a roaring fire, flickering on the slick plank floor. I see the wood box full of wood that Grandpa chopped. Grandma’s loving talent shows in the needlepoint stockings hanging from the mantel board, and Christmas presents Aunt B wrapped in brown sack paper and tied with twine. I smell sweet potato pies baking in the oven. All evidence of the presence of the spirit of Christmas.
I see Grandma’s long apron hanging from a wooden peg beside the window. Grandpa’s head rests against the side of his wingback chair. I watch as Grandma removes his glasses, folded on his open Bible in his lap. He snores as she slips off his shoes and tucks a blanket over him.
Who cares if Santa in the red suit is a myth?
We have the spirit of Christmas!
There’s still time to share it Y’all!