Saturday, November 26, 2005

Anna's gift to me

I received a letter today from Anna, a woman who has been writing to me since she was a child.

As Anna grew older, and others her age stopped writing, she joined her younger siblings when they wrote.

Then she married and had her own children with whom she wrote.

Now they are all grown, and Anna has begun writing with her grandchildren.

She tells people she writes just to encourage them and help them keep the magic of Christmas alive. Maybe, but she also has a sign in her house that reads, “I still believe.”

I’ve always enjoyed her letters. Instead of just listing what she wants, she asks questions about me, my wife, the elves, the North Pole, and so on. She also tells me about her life – all the events of the past year, the boys she liked (when she was younger), trips, her husband's ice cream business, the events in her children’s lives, etc.

She has also occasinally written me stories and poems full of love and joy, which she illustrated. I still have them.

And she never fails to thank me for the gifts she received the last Christmas.

Sometimes, she reflects on the world. She did so in this year’s letter.

“People are putting their Christmas decorations out earlier and earlier. Bill (he’s the father of Timmy and Natasha, both of whom I’m sure are on your nice list) [They are.], put his lights up a two weeks before Thanksgiving and has his Santa and reindeer display already lighted. There are many other displays up in the neighborhood.

"I think people are doing it because they are sad. There are so many terrible things happening in our world, so they want to h9ld on to something that gives them joy. It’s a way to push away the sadness for a while.”

Ah, I have seen much sadness in my many centuries of life. These are sad times, but there have been times as sad or sadder in the past.

I’m sure there will be more sad times in the future, too.

But as long as there are people like Anna who look for what is beautiful in life and the world, the sadness will never win.


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