How are you? I hope you, and Mrs. Claus, and the elves, and the reindeer are all feeling good.
As any young child can attest to (if not whine about), it is always a challenge trying to distill a myriad of contemplations into just one wish for your consideration. There are so many people who, in each of their circumstances, need a bit of the smile you have, long for a series of happy-shared-times, yearn for the joy you bring. Not least are those who have lost a loved one during the year: refrains of "Joy to the World" must seem especially bittersweet for anyone who has lost their joy, their world.
For the rest of us, it seems selfish to express a desire for something tangible when we could all, instead, follow the examples set by Monsignor Otterson and Isaak Kornelsen.
Monsignor Otterson was always young at heart (and not just when he was wearing a "Cat in the Hat" hat or a wig). Fee was quick with smiles, and would add a wink when it was his mischief that caused them. He was confident enough in his own faith to allow you the time to explore your own. His guidance came from patience and his knowledge that each person (even those who went out of their way to avoid his drama classes) had strengths they had not yet begun to explore. Perhaps that is why Monsignor Otterson was so playful and generous with hugs: he knew there is strength in shared smiles and reaching out to touch someone's heart.
Isaak Kornelsen was wise beyond his years. Isaak's creativity -- in art, in music, in working through a particular problem -- were worthy of contemplation and appreciation (not least when he would say "I don't know... I think..."). Isaak's seemingly unbounded abilities were inspiring, breaking limitations that others might impose on themselves. He also knew that spending time with his family was not just an obligation, and spending time with his friends was more than an opportunity. Isaak would take the time (which he saw as a responsibility and a pleasure) to show an acquaintance the simple, fascinating sparkling of freshly fallen snow on a front yard fence. Perhaps that is why Isaak's smiles brightened the eyes and hearts of his family and his friends: he knew how vital it was to spend a bit of time showing something about the world to someone (maybe even everyone), even if you may never know whether they think the world of you.
I know there are those who are already entitled to extra smiles you may have, Santa, and, as always, you must be busy enough as it is. But if you do have a spare moment this Christmas... Maybe the best wish, Santa, would be a wish for those who are no longer bound by Earthly considerations: that their Heaven include all of the smiles they caused, each fond memory they shared, and the sum of the joy they spread throughout the world.
Vernon R.J. Schmid
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