Sometime tonight, long after the sun has dropped behind the horizon, Santa Claus will make his way from the North Pole in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer.
Children will battle that increasing drowsiness with all their might as they do all they can to get a glimpse of the jolly old fellow.
How does he do it?
How are all of those toys and games and pieces of clothing packed into that one sleigh? How can those eight reindeer pull it across the sky at speeds so fast it disappears before it is seen?
As a child growing up in an old farmhouse with space heaters, my concern was always how Santa could get inside ... allowing that we had no fireplace.
Mom — as moms always do — had the answer. In my letter to Santa Claus,she had included a note to let him know where a key to the back door would be hidden so that he might gain entry.
And the next morning ... voila!
• • •
To me, the story of a child’s Christmas is truly wonderful ... to hear that giggle and laughter ... to see the twinkle in their eyes ... the ripping and crumbling of wrapping paper.
For some children, though, the possibility exists there won’t be any giggles ... very little laughter and no paper to rip or crumble.
Those are the kids who deal with the reality that either mom or dad — or both — are out of work. What money they can pull together goes for food and to keep their home warm.
The Lord only knows what they’d do if someone got sick and there’s no way in the world there’s money for a Christmas tree.
To these kids, Christmas is a day they’ve dreaded while school was in session because all their little friends talked about what they were going to get.
They know they’re loved, but because of one thing or the other, these children won’t jump up on Christmas morning to run and see what Santa brought ... they aren’t even sure he knows where they live.
To me, the story of that child’s Christmas is like a punch in the stomach.
• • •
Time is running out to make a difference, but there is still time. I know many of you have already dug deep to try and help give a youngster a brighter Christmas.
I can’t imagine our grandsons, Dominick or Alex, without Christmas and even though we “cut back” this year, Stephanie made the comment Wednesday morning that “The boys made out like bandits!”
Could you please find it in your heart to reach in your pocket one more time? The Salvation Army will man its kettles at Wal-Mart from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. today, so the means is there to get gifts to those in need.
No child should be without at Christmas and we should do everything we can to keep that from happening.
You know, that’s the part of the Santa Claus mystery that no one seems to have a handle on ... the part where a child is not really sure whether Santa knows where they are or not.
That’s something we need to work on as a society, because EVERY child should know that Santa Claus exists and knows where they are and hasn’t forgotten them.
• • •
Today’s edition of your Daily Southerner is a bit different in that we’re sharing stories of special Christmases from members of the community.
Also, we offer you the letter of little Virginia O’Hanlon, written some 115 years ago when her belief in Santa Claus was shaken by her friends.
A veteran newspaperman by the name of Francis Pharcellus Church penned the unsigned editorial in the New York Sun that answered her question.
Church’s editorial has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.
We hope you enjoy ... and from the staff of The Daily Southerner and the Walker household, we wish you all of the joys of the Christmas season.
Merry Christmas, and God bless..
(John H. Walker is editor and publisher of The Daily Southerner. He can be reached at 823-3106.)