Dec. 12, 2005: Santa, No Need To Stop Here — I Have Everything I Need

Dear Santa:

Before you head out from the North Pole this year, I wanted you to know that there is no need to stop by my house this Christmas. Please don’t take this the wrong way, Santa, but there is nothing you have that I need. My cup runneth over.

It has taken me a long time to understand that the best presents can’t be bought. They are gifts — most of them undeserved. Take family, for example. What could you give me that would have more value than a soul mate who spent most of her adult life playing second fiddle to her husband’s career? She suffered through so many boring banquets talking to so many boring people about so much boring stuff, while smiling all the time. All this to help a husband who gave his job more attention than he did his marriage.

And there is nothing in your bag that can top two great kids who love me — warts and all. To put icing on the cake, they married well and have raised four outstanding teenage boys. Don’t get me started on the grandboys. I will talk your ear off. They are the light of my life.

You could travel the world — and you do — and still not find better neighbors than we have. We all look out for each other’s houses and each other’s welfare. Same with friends. Friends are simply priceless. I have many, many more than I deserve.

I live in a great country. It never fails, however, that anytime I talk about how privileged we are to be Americans, I hear from pompous prigs who want to sniff about all the things wrong with us. Perhaps you could give them a magic wand for Christmas so they would disappear. I have a couple of suggestions where they can go if you are interested in knowing, but I suspect you are way ahead of me on this one.

How blessed I am to live in Georgia. I doubt you get to spend much time here, Santa, but it is a great place. We’ve got mountains and oceans and nice people and sweet tea and more good barbecue places than you have time to hear about. If we have any room for improvement it is that too many know-it-alls have moved here and want us to act like them. Most of them talk too loud and don’t have a sense of humor. Why would we want to act like them? That’s weird.

I received two of my best presents earlier this year. One was a trip to Honduras where I helped build latrines and reroof houses, bonded with a young hearing-impaired boy named Victor and met a lot of wonderful people who are poor in the pocketbook but rich in spirit. Then I went to Iraq and lived and almost died with Georgia’s 48th Brigade Combat Team. What brave people these citizen-soldiers are. If you could give them a little peace on Earth, I would really appreciate it. So would their families.

It is a special gift to belong to a church willing to accept a sinner like me. I am thankful that Dr. Gil Watson, the World’s Greatest Preacher, is in the pulpit each and every Sunday morning. I have said it before, Santa, but it bears repeating: The man can preach the fuzz off a peach.

Which brings me to my main reason for writing you. As I get older, I understand the meaning of Christmas a little better each year. It isn’t about shopping and partying and the empty feeling you get when it is all over and the bills come due. It isn’t about politically correct retailers who refuse to acknowledge Christmas. It’s not even about you, Santa.

Christmas is about a child born long ago in a manger in Bethlehem. In his short time on this earth, he taught us that we should love one another, no matter how hard we try not to. It’s not that I don’t appreciate you, Santa, but I have discovered that there is a lot more to Christmas than your sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. Better late than never.