Working on a Holiday

OH, I SUPPOSE somebody has to work today. Fortunately, I am just about finished, and soon I’ll be able to go back home.

The gentleman moves quietly from the area near the front window where he has been arranging things for the last few minutes, and sits heavily in an overstuffed  chair. He sighs.

He is carrying more weight than is good for him, but he likes to eat. He knows it, and he just doesn’t give a fig. Let others diet.

How long a life should anyone have? How much longer would I live if I took care, and exercised, and watched my weight? When the end comes, it will just come, won’t it? I wonder how I would feel if I knew this to be my last moment, and I had an opportunity to look back over my years and see how much I had enjoyed myself.

How different might I feel if I came to the same point in life all slim and glowing with health, knowing I was drawing my last breath, and knowing as well that I had gone through a lifetime of the pain of denial to get a few extra years. Bah! Why, that thought doesn’t please me at all.

Then the sad thought he has had many times before comes to him and he reconsiders.

I am the spirit of Christmas. People have believed in me for hundreds of years. I have been magic to all children, helping them to see a world that doesn’t exist for adults except for my season when they open their hearts and pay attention for a few days to the true reasons for their existence and for that of all mankind. I wish I could extend my Christmas season for the whole year and bring happiness to the whole the world, but people must be what they are, and I must be content with my part in it.

As his breath calms from his previous exertion, he peers out the big picture window. He sees the hilly landscape. The snow-covered fields are dotted with pines and firs and spruce trees. Groves of ash and oak and maples abound. They stand stark without their leaves, resting for the promise of spring months away. On the next hill he can make out features of another house similar to this one and thinks, my next stop. The moonlight is bright. The air is cold. It is a pretty and a peaceful night.

A final errant thought turns his normally jolly mouth downward and a moment of fear courses through his ancient body.

But what of this world? It is plagued with hatred and greed and self-interest. War is waged across the planet in many forms. People are being turned, persuaded by hatemongers to sacrifice themselves to evil intent. Its resources are being used to benefit the few and often to the detriment of the people that are being served. If it continues the way it’s going, there may be no place for me at all. A world without Santa, why, what sort of world would it be? I must stop thinking this way. Surely the bright light of reason and love of people and their families will overcome hatred and harmony will reign again. Surely it must!

He glances again at the serenity of a world at peace, if but for the moment. He allows his lips to curve into his familiar smile and shakes off his horrifying thoughts. A few deep breaths bring back his jolly old self.

Now that’s better. Look at that night. Just the way I like it! Well, time to get moving.

The springiness back in his step, with a satisfied smile and reclaimed mission back, he shoulders his depleted sack, makes his way to the fireplace and rises quietly up the chimney. Heaving his bulk into his sleigh, he gives a nod to Rudolph and his other reindeer friends, and wings his way to the house on the next hill.

Chuckling with good humor in the crisp winter air, he shouts, “Ho, Ho, Ho, and a Merry Christmas to all!”