I’ve always known the magic of kids–the magic they bring to Christmas. It’s not the other way around like many people think. Christmas would have no magic without the innocence of kids whose joy brings hope and forgiveness to a, sometimes, hopeless and unforgiving world. Kids do that because childhood is that kind of time even for kids who live in a world of struggling parents and temporary homes. Kids just simply know how to find magic in the midst of sadness, in the midst of scary moments adults have a hard time explaining.
It was the time I worked for a domestic violence organization that included a shelter for survivors escaping dangerous abusive relationships. Many of the women at the shelter had children, children for whom the staff worked hard to provide the most at home experience as possible. This included a holiday party that brought two Santas–one white, and one black, in the name of diversity. And it was in the name of such diversity that I talked my ex-husband, also a wheelchair user like myself, into playing disabled Santa that year, something he agreed to do although having grown up disabled, his experiences around being stared at by kids is something he’d often try to avoid. He did the Santa thing knowing this, and I was so grateful for that. So, it happens that the universe must have been witnessing this as his actions would be rewarded in the most surprising way.
As the group of children from the shelter were waiting to board their ride to the party, a drunken Santa got hit by a car. The children were inconsolable and were convinced that Santa was dead. They witnessed in tears and sobs how Santa was taken away on a stretcher, and nothing anybody said could convince them Santa was not dead. The short drive to the party was a mess of tears and pleas to go back to check on Santa.
When the kids got to the party, their sobs and tears automatically stopped when they saw Santa sitting in a wheelchair. They all ran to him and hugged him, sat on his lap and told him how glad they were he was alive. He just had a broken leg after getting hit by a car. All the kids at the party believed my husband was the real Santa. They had seen it with their own eyes. They saw him getting hurt, but he was alright. He just had a broken leg, that’s why he was in a chair. They had no doubt in their minds that Santa was, indeed, real, and that’s the kind of Christmas magic only kids can make come true.