I can remember vividly a Christmas Eve when I was about five years old. I was laying so quiet and still, hoping and hoping I would hear reindeer on the roof and the bells on Santa’s sleigh. And… I did! Lying there in bed, I am sure I heard sleigh bells and reindeer hooves. And even today all I can say is that I am confident that what I heard was what I wanted to hear.
Though it was not long after that, that I stopped believing in Santa (which occurred after I noticed my Mum’s handwriting matched the gift tag from “Santa”…), I will never forget that night when I believed so much that I heard was real. It is honestly one of the few times in my life that I have believed that much, that honestly, and that faithfully. Though I now obviously don’t believe in that type of Christmas magic anymore, I do believe there is magic in Christmas. However, it is something I don’t think, over the years, I’ve always believed in.
Like most people, I have had my good Christmas’ and my bad. I have had the years where I was completely into it and the years I thought to myself, “Why in the world do we still do this every single year?”
Christmas is one of those things that, though it can bring a lot of happiness, it almost always brings a lot of stress. There are events to attend, presents to wrap. There are gifts to make and a list of things to do. It can be really overwhelming to suddenly be faced with this time of the year when you have a million extra things to do. And don’t even get me started on what it’s like to be alone at Christmas.
Let’s face it – Christmas can be rough. But, year after year, so many of us keep doing it. We keep wrapping the gifts and singing the songs and telling the same silly stories over and over again. We love it.
Because we believe.
We believe there’s something completely and utterly magical about Christmas. We believe in Christmas miracles, in Christmas stories. We believe that even the same ratty old decorations are beautiful. We believe that the same verses sung over and over again can still sound magical. We believe in glitter and tinsel and the idea that maybe, just maybe this will be the very best Christmas of all. Sometimes it seems like a miracle in and of itself that we believe all of this, especially as adults. It’s one thing for children, in their sweet innocence, to see the magic in Christmas, but, for us adults it can be a little bit harder. Yet we still do it. We still, after all of these years of the good and bad, believe.
When I think about that night, SO many years ago, when I was lying in bed and listening so hard for Santa’s reindeer and sleigh, I am amazed. I am amazed that my mind could play such tricks on me. And I am even more amazed that, looking back on it, I’m actually happy that my mind did that. Normally I would be against thinking logically, especially when thinking about myself in a critical stage of development as I was at the age of five, but, in this case, magic trumps logic. When it comes to Christmas, especially to a childhood Christmas, believing wins out over rationalising every single time.
There have been moments in my life when I have reflected on that Christmas and thought to myself, “What an idiot I was! How could I really have thought I heard reindeer and sleigh bells on our roof!?” I realise now that that reaction was not anger at myself, but fear – fear that I really could believe in something so much that I could create it in my mind.
The fear of believing in something so fiercely that I can transform it into a reality has held me back for many years. I have spent a long, long time being afraid of believing. I have spent years afraid to believe in myself, afraid to believe in others, afraid to believe in ideas that I knew could be made real.
This year I have finally begun to get a little bit of that five-year-old self back. This year I have once again begun believing. While I may not be lying in bed imagining reindeer and sleigh bells, I am still that same little girl, believing in something so much that she makes it a reality. I may not believe in Santa, but this year I have discovered that I still believe in myself. It’s been a crazy, whirlwind of a year, but I have come to find what I always knew to be true… There is still, and always will be, great beauty in believing.