The Sleigh Bells


When I was very young my brother was a sound sleeper even on Christmas morning.  While I could swear I heard Santa’s sleigh on the rooftop and the jingle of his reindeers’ bells, Craig was totally oblivious until well into the morning, long after the tinsel-dripping tree was surrounded by gifts. 

They were too much for me to behold by myself, and no fun to open alone, so every Christmas morning found me dragging my poor, sleeping brother right out of his bed and into the den.  Saint that he was, he forgave me every time.  After all, it was a holy and magic day.  Holy, because of its origin and purpose—magic, because of all the fun my parents put into it.

We sang Christmas carols; in church choirs, in the car with Dad teaching harmony, around the piano as Mother played.  Christmas was music

We baked cookies and added sprinkles, delighted in Mother’s unique Jell-O salads, and never failed to have a box of See’s chocolates around. Christmas was delicious!

We went as a family on long drives to see the Christmas lights and to the malls to “ooh” and “ahh” at the fancy window displays.  Christmas was beauty.

It was two weeks of family time to shop together, eat together, wrap gifts till midnight, and wait in anticipation of the smiles we would receive as someone we loved opened what we gave out of love. Christmas was giving.

Our parents, having had more or less dismal childhoods themselves, made it their goal to make our Christmases special.  I will forever be grateful for the magic they put into our lives by spending quality time with us.  Not every child gets it.

At Childhelp we understand that sad truth well.  Recently, a boy beat up a girl in one of our classrooms.  He was angry, so he took it out on her.  Later, when taken to a time out space, he kicked and cursed at the staff.   Eventually, he began to calm down, talk about what had happened, and slowly understood that he needed to apologize to the girl. 

As they talked, they wandered onto a tangent about magic—was it real or not?  At that moment, it occurred to me that this little boy probably never experienced the magic that I did as a child.  Then he lifted his shirt to reveal a large bruise on his back.  He said they used a metal rod to do that, because he had spilled some water.  For him, magic was getting through a day without a beating.

As a child, I never had to worry about what would happen to me when I got home from school.  Life was predictable—we did homework, had dinner, watched a show, and went to bed.  Seasons would come and go—there would be trick-or-treating, Easter eggs to find, and sleigh bells to hear on the rooftop.  The magic of a loving home was there in every day and every season to greet me.

It is no wonder that this little boy is angry.  He’s never heard the sleigh bells.

This year, let’s help our children experience the magic of the Christmas Season by spending time with them and showing how much we care.

blog comments powered by Disqus


CFC# 11571