by Randy Nusbaum

The year was 2020 as Christmas Eve was settling into the frost-covered Catoctin Mountains. The air was crisp, the Christmas lights glowing, the soft church bells echoing in the distance. The cool night air was filled with the warm aroma of pies, cakes, and Christmas Eve dinners. The hustle of the day was past, the excitement of the coming day starting to build. There was a comforting calmness wrapping its arms around the night. The jolly ‘ole elf stood on the corner, taking in the magic of the night.

St. Nick pondered that the year had been like no other. The routine of everyday life turned upside down. The peculiarity of shutdowns, closings, sheltering, social distancing, and covering our faces, offering up new challenges to folks’ traditional level of contentment. Questions looming, “Would our lives ever be the same?” As he often did, Nick wondered what possible gift he could bring this year to ease the burden.

As St. Nick strolled the quiet streets, he observed the last-minute preparations. Through the windows, he could see parents smiling as they placed gifts under the trees while the children slept. There was the occasional flutter of curtains in rooms where children pretended to sleep in an effort to catch a glimpse as he passed by.

Then it occurred to him, the gift had been arriving throughout the year. As folks adjusted their lives, they were spending more and more time in a place called home. Spending more time enjoying what they had, the things they worked so hard for throughout the year. Spending more time with their spouses, children, and families, something many had lost sight of in their busy lives. This gave Nick pause to smile before continuing on his Christmas journey.

From one Santa to another, this Christmas, take time to enjoy your homecoming. And in the immortal words of Tiny Tim: “God bless us, everyone.”

                                                ~Merry Christmas

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