Do You Believe in Magic?

23 Dec

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. ” 
― Mary Ellen Chase

If you’ve been following my blog up until now, I’m sure you’ve deduced that I’m a bit of an idealist. All of my elusive comments about magic behind every corner and grandeur in every breath must get a little old to the likes of you who rationalize with mere logic. If this is you I’m speaking about, I’d stop reading now. Because if you think I’m quixotic under normal circumstances, you haven’t seen me around Christmas.

I often think that other people, when acting authentically, become guides from the beyond, but there’s something about the season of Advent that makes these guides more bountiful. Maybe they’re angels paving the way for the Newborn, or maybe they’re elves, frolicking around like those pointy-eared children in Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause. Whoever they are and whatever the reason, they’ve been sprinkling magic this Christmas season (I can rhyme too, Mr. Grinch).

A few weeks ago my community and I helped Catholic Charities stock a home for an incoming refugee family. As we pushed our four carts around Wal-Mart, overflowing them with $500 worth of household appliances, a few of us headed to Electronics to purchase a pay-as-you-go cell phone. As the clerk explained to us how to set the phone up, we explained to him that we were purchasing the phone for another family to use. As we thanked him and walked away, Wal-Mart Nick looked at us and said, quietly and subtly, “keep doing what you’re doing.” As that short phrase escaped his lips, it was as if all of the Wal-Mart shoppers grew quiet and their carts grew still. It was more than an offhand comment—it was a summons. And all this from Wal-Mart Nick in Electronics.

The other day a few of us were waiting in the snow for the bus for over half an hour, and we had just about given up hope that it would ever turn the corner in our direction. As we started to make our way back home, accepting that we would never make it to our destination,  I noticed there was an older woman waiting for our bus, but standing at the incorrect bus stop. My heart went out to her, so on our way back I went over to explain to her that the bus was on a detour and she had to move to a different stop to catch the bus. As I walked her to the proper stop, the bus pulled up—perfect timing. I swear that somehow, someway, it was her doing.

The beautiful thing about Christmas magic is that we’re all welcome to join in the fun. Last weekend my parents were driving home late from a holiday party, and the snow was really coming down. As they drove past a bus stop, they noticed a bus drive past, a man flailing his arms in its wake. Seeing him standing there helpless, they did the only thing they could think of—they picked him up and took him where he needed to go. To quote the wall of Paris’ Shakespeare and Company bookstore (which happens to be my favorite corner of the universe), “be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise.”

When you open your eyes, The Spirit of Christmas is everywhere. Can you see it?


Happy Christmas from my community to yours 🙂


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