Archived Story

When we quit believing, we miss life itself

Published 10:07am Monday, December 17, 2012

Column: Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf

’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Grandma was creeping like a small winter’s mouse.

Her presents were undone in the basement and she feared

That Santa would get here and she wouldn’t be prepared.

 

That is my fear for the coming week. I can’t say I am overly stressed about it, but I will say that I didn’t realize how many projects I had committed myself to making this Christmas. Of course, no one will know if I don’t get them all done although it might be a little strange when a few people don’t have presents under the tree.

Understand that I love making things to give to my family but I seem to wait until the last minute to get started on them. Yes, I must admit I am a procrastinator. I have known for months what I was going to create. I had plenty of time and now it is almost the night before Christmas. Maybe if I believe hard enough Santa will finish them up for me and have everything waiting under the tree on Christmas morning.

We are in the magical season of believing miracles will happen.

I want to still believe that there is a Santa, an Easter Bunny, a Tooth Fairy and all the other magical dreams that we all have as children. I want my children and grandchildren to still believe. I don’t think we leave our children in that magical world long enough these days.

I remember being 5 or 6 years old and traveling to Northern California for Christmas to visit with my uncle and aunt and cousins. I was so afraid Santa wouldn’t know where to find me. I was in awe when I got to visit him in those northern California woods. I was relieved and excited when I woke up that Christmas morning and he had left me my gifts and a note under my uncle and aunts tree. It was magical and I believed.

I remember going to midnight Mass with my mother on many Christmas nights. There was magic in the air, the music was beautiful and I knew something special was happening. Jesus was going to be born and I believed.

There is something that happens to each of us when we quit believing in Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter bunny. There is something that happens to each of us when those of us who believed, quit believing in the miracle of Jesus’ birth. There is something that happens to each of us when we quit believing that special things can happen in our lives. When we quit believing we miss the wonder, the joy and the unexpectedness of the possibility of miracles. We miss the magic of life.

During the holidays we seem to treat each other kinder, show more appreciation and dig in our pockets a little deeper to give to charities. For a little while in the cold, bleak winter we want to believe in the goodness of human nature. We want to believe that we will live in a kinder, gentler world in the future. We want a little respite from the bad news.

One of my favorite Christmas carols is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” The poem was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas Day in 1863. That year his son joined the union army as a soldier without his father’s blessing. He was then severly wounded. Along with that, Longfellow’s wife died as a result of an accidental fire. That was what inspired him to write this poem “Christmas Bells.” It tells of his despair and then his renewed hope in the future.

 

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,

A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound

The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

 

I am going to continue on with my holiday gift making and believe I will get it all done. I am going to continue believing in the magic of Christmas, Jesus Birth, Santa Claus, and the goodness and goodwill of the hearts of people. Like Longfellow’s poem I am going to believe in peace on earth good-will to men.

 

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at thecolumn@bevcomm.net.