Words From Andy
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A word on Santa

There’s something about tonight, December the 24, that is special, some would even say magical. Christmas is cool and fun, but I know for me, most of my family tradition is centered around Christmas eve. And for me ever Christmas eve I find myself remembering the eves of yesterday, when I was still a kid. Every Christmas eve happened the same way for years. The day would be spent watching TV, starring with hungry eyes at the tree, ogling the presents like a drunk ogles the ladies at the bar. Then when 4:15 rolled around we would pile into our 1984 Chevy Suburban with the rusted out wheel housing and drive off to church to make the 5pm mass. The 5pm mass and the Easter mass were the times of the year in which people sat shoulder to shoulder in our church, packed in like sardines. It is also the best service of the year because it’s geared for kids, and there’s a sense of mystery to it. Then we would drive home, and the mystery would mount. I don’t know what it is, and I honestly don’t believe there is any word in the English language that can describe it. But it’s a feeling, when you riding home in that junky old rust bucket, scanning the skies for Santa, looking for a glimpse of red, or maybe an antler or glowing red nose. Then after getting home we would go to the upstairs of my house where my grandmother lived, unwrap her presents and watch an old TV special, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause.” We would stay up till 12, and then, barley able to fight off sleep any longer, we would leave out cookies, making sure to be extremely careful around our fireplaces, scared that Santa would comedown and catch us not in bed, and just scare the living daylights out of us. It’s amazing, I’m 23, and when I ride home from church, I still scan the skies. Even adults can get caught up in the magic of this night. And I can’t help but wonder why that is? Why do people smile and acknowledge perfect strangers during this time of year, why does every snow fall seem to be more than just a snow fall, why does it become a magical occurrence? It’s hope. It’s something we never outgrow, and thank God we don’t. This time of year we see hope in abundance. You see it walking through the mall and watching the faces of children standing in line to see the big man himself. You see it in the faces of people standing by red kettles ringing bells, hoping that their standing out in the cold will make the winter for some poor families easier. It’s the hope of people around the world that one day there will be a world peace, or at least things will be better. It’s this hope that makes Santa so appealing. It’s the hope of something amazing that is just around the cornier. And it’s being brought to you by this amazing hermit who spreads love and cheer through the world and asks for nothing in return. We never see Santa, you never thank him, and he never requests a thank you. Hope is a wonderful thing, it’s hope that makes dreams possible, and it’s hope that can make those dreams come true. Santa and Christmas eve are the embodiment of hope. If you don’t believe me, watch the way people act around Christmas. Hope is a wonderful thing, it’s an amazing thing, it’s a magical thing, both a gift and a blessing. Does Santa Clause exist? Yes, yes he does. Santa Clause is hope, he is joy, he is a spirit that lives in all of use. You may not find him in the north pole, but look in the face of a child, gazing up at the snowy night skies of December, you’ll see him. Look at the perfect stranger, dropping money in a red kettle to help people they don’t know, and never will. Here you find Santa. The warm and inviting room of a Christmas dinner, Santa is there. In the warm and endearing memories of Christmases as far back as you can remember, here too is Santa.

Santa is everything that is good, that is wholesome about humanity. And that is why, at the age of 23, I believe in him. I believe in the spirit of Christmas, I believe in hope. Merry Christmas, and a happy new year.

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