December 23, 2010

The Miracle That is Plastic Santa

We await the Christmas miracle. Will Plastic Santa light up our world, as surely as the Maccabees kept those candles burning for eight days? (Yes, this is a mixed religion metaphor, but isn't it the Season of Light?)

We married many years ago in the autumn and couldn't afford to fly from Florida to the Midwest to be with our families of origin. That was fine with us, as a new family we wanted to establish our own traditions. While shopping at the Largo Kash n' Karry, the Love of My Life spotted a row of foot-high plastic Santas on top of the produce cabinet. We took it home to our little one-bedroom apartment, the one with the view of the gun shop, and plugged Santa in.

Santa lighted our world, and has been part of our family ever since. He moved with us to graduate school, to a nicer two-bedroom apartment in Tampa. He came back home again to Indiana with us to the townhouse on a lake, to our first little house, and now for many years in our present home.

Each year we await the Miracle. Will Santa light? He has yet to fail. He lighted when I was very pregnant with Junior in the little townhouse, and he shone with glorious light the next Christmas. Junior joined the family as did his new cousin. We celebrated our first Christmas in our new first house with our new baby. Two sets of relatives came in on Christmas Eve from Iowa and northern Indiana just as a blanket of snow settled over southern Indiana.

The two babies had matching Santa suits (that's kind of a lie, my sister-in-law bought an expensive Santa suit for her elf, while ours had one from the now-departed K-Mart). The point is that they looked adorable, and had the adoration of six adults.

Plastic Santa reigned over the room.

Every year he has made his magical return. We wonder, will this be the year he no longer lights? And it never is. How can this be? He is put away each year under mounds of other Christmas ornaments and decorations, not to resurface until all the packages are dragged out?

How can one small nightlight battery last for decades? It is a miracle, and I believe as surely as I believe a tiny baby was born in Bethlehem on a starry night centuries ago.

(Please ignore the giant, bearded scholarly-looking elf who might be sneaking into the stack of Christmas boxes about October and replacing the bulb. Walking away....)

Merry Christmas. Choose to believe!