Christmas is one day past, but then again, Christmas is the celebration of a “season” not a day. As memory allows me remembrance, my Christmas has been surrounded by these words “I want.” I can remember sitting on my mother’s lap while looking out the bedroom window, Mom asked, “What do you want most for Christmas sweetheart?” That night, as my dearest Mom and Dad sat in the living room, and my sister Honey sat in “her” chair listening to songs by Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and Perry Como on the radio, my Dad called and waived me into his lap. Once in Dad’s lap, a place I loved to be, he asked, “Tommy what do you want Santa to bring you this year?” I can’t remember either response but I know there has been this consistent response throughout life – “I want”.
In looking back at my life I realize I’m living in transition. That transition has taken me from I want more “stuff and things,” to what it is that I need - more peace, more understanding, more love. Now, perhaps because this is my 70th Christmas, what I want most is living in the arms of hope, faith, and love. And so I’ve written a letter to Santa – a letter I want to share with you.
North Pole – Earth.
It’s been many years since I wrote you a letter, perhaps well over 60. This letter differs from any in the past simply because it’s not what “I want” that matters - it’s what “I need”. I’ve grown to understand the vast difference in “want” versus “need.” There is very little I want in this life, if I tie “want” to material things. I have a suit, two pairs of shoes and my sneakers which I wear every day. I don’t need 10 suits, 10 pair of shoes and walk-in wardrobes dedicated to shirts and pants. Come to think of it – I’ve never had a suit, shirt or sock tell me as I touched it, “I love you.” What a waste in life it is waiting for material objects to fill the air with “words and acts” of love.
Rather Santa, it’s what I need that I seek. I need those I love, and there are many surrounding me. When I am surrounded by friends and family I’m embraced by the arms of opportunity to fill this simple, yet indescribable goal, to know I am loved and to tell them over-and-over again, “I love you.” Love is found in the act itself not in gifts, promises, nor occasional time together.
“Perhaps less time at work and more time with family,” is a phrase I’ve often heard. I think not, for those I work with I respect and consider friends – in a sense they are “family.”
And so this Christmas, from Dec. 25th, 2012 through Dec. 25th, 2013, I am, with a sense of hope, faith and love, turning to you. Santa I’m asking you, not because I “want” but because I “need” to help me understand how you continue in a world seemingly less involved with loving others than loving self. How can I help pass on your spirit of the importance of giving to others, not material things but that which counts most, a sense of being loved and valued? I know it’ll require patience – I can’t think of anyone who has more patience than you in light of the “doubt” which surrounds you. I’ll also need to borrow your sense of purpose which is obviously beyond self, while mine oft lies centered in self.
In the end Santa, what I most need is the ability to realize the great gifts in my life, that which matters most and keeps you in the “air” on Christmas every year. Those gifts are the gift of my wife, my children, my grandchildren and the many friends that surround my life. I truly need to hear your laughter in my heart and soul. Santa.
I love you,