Natasha Warwaruk | The Voice of Zion December 2023 - Column --
My cheek is pressed against the window glass, my gaze surveys the black of the night sky. Pricks of diamond penetrate the blackness – stars suspended from the heavens. To my left I notice the red rotating flash of the cell tower. And I think of Rudolph. Now, where did that magic of Christmas disappear to? When did I stop waiting for Santa?
Bang-di-di bang bang bang! My thoughts jolt back to the story playing over the Suburban’s loudspeakers: “The Shepherd.” We are on our way back from Christmas Eve church. The reader’s voice is familiar and expressive. It gives me a comfortable feeling. This story is broadcast every Christmas Eve on Canada’s CBC radio and has somehow worked its way into the grain of our family’s Christmas Eve. For a time anyway.
A handful of decades have since passed but those days seem like yesterday in my memory. Nowadays I enjoy Christmas through the eyes of my siblings’ children, and I reminisce of days gone by. The uninhibited exuberance of a child beholding the treasures that Santa has left on Christmas morning cannot be beat. I recall a bright-eyed nephew exclaiming, as little plastic mice come tumbling out of his upturned stocking, “Just what I wanted!” I’m pretty sure possessing plastic mice had not occurred to him until that very moment. The memory brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.
Another thought springs to mind – why do we tell our children about a mythical man who brings toys on Christmas? It seems St. Nicholas himself is historically true, but that does not explain the rest – year-round toymaking by elves and then soaring through the air with eight reindeer to deliver gifts on Christmas. Why this?
Now my mind shifts to our faith. At times I have thought Santa had some of God’s qualities, the gifts and joy. Have we just been taught about our faith and are simply believing, just as our children do in Santa? Simply trusting that mother and father will take care of us and the gifts that Santa delivers every Christmas will just be there? At some point, the child’s mind develops and realizes what Santa’s loving gift-giving is all about. In my case, some of that early magical part of Christmas transforms and in its place is the miracle of Christmas and its true meaning.
As I ponder, I see how the tradition of gift giving ties to our faith. Our heavenly Father delivers gifts every moment of every day. Our hearts can be open and ready to receive these gifts as they come. The congregation mother also delivers gifts to us every time we gather and even daily, through our brothers and sisters who belong to this congregation on earth. The gifts are there, free for the taking and exactly what we are needing.
And so it is that the greatest gift is the gift of faith, and my mind cannot comprehend it or understand it. I must simply trust in the Father and the mother. I treasure this gift and enjoy all the other gifts that come along with it.
Natasha Warwaruk’s inspiration to write comes from experiences, observations and enjoyment. She hails from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the “land of the living skies” and considers a day well spent when it includes family, friends and a jaunt outside.