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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Eve Vigil


I posted this story here years ago, after it was published in a Christmas collection. This looks like the last Christmas we'll have my grandmother with us, so I wanted to share it again.


Christmas Eve Vigil
"Mom-Mom, I hear him," I whispered, sitting up slightly in bed. With the
covers sliding off, I leaned toward the other twin bed where my grandmother
slept, or tried to, during my all night vigil watching for Santa. Cool air
touched my skin, but my excitement warmed me. "I hear something on the
roof."

I still recall the sweet scent of her beauty-salon hair-do, as she shook her
head and whispered for me to go to sleep, or Santa couldn't come visit our
house. Mom-Mom stayed overnight every Christmas Eve, it was a family
tradition. I was no more than five at the time, but the memories of that
dark night have never faded. I knew Santa was out there, somewhere, nearby,
and likely to sweep in close when I wasn't looking. I had been good all
year, and had faith that Santa knew that.

Deeper in the night, I looked over and saw my grandmother, appearing to be
sitting upright in a rocking chair. When I woke her to tell her this, she
wasn't pleased.

"Robin, please go to sleep." She still whispered, but with an edge to her
voice now. "You're trying too hard. You know he'll be here."

I tried to comply, I really did. I could then perceive that she was indeed
laying down, not sitting in a chair. But as I lay there, staring into
blackness, my belief grew stronger that Santa was with me, whether or not I
could see or hear him. Most children in our country are lucky, they will
have their beliefs confirmed on Christmas morning. As adults, we need to
keep our faith as well, our faith that God is always with us, whether we
physically see Him or not.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas, the one whom we are really
accountable too. Jesus knows who has been naughty and who has been nice.
When we stare into long moments of blackness, we need to keep the childlike
wonder fresh, and know that He could be on our roof at any time. Even better
than Santa, God is with us everyday.

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