Roseanne didn’t like Christmas. Many years ago, her dad had died near Christmas and was buried on Christmas Eve. She had avoided celebrating Christmas ever since. This year, for the first time in a number of years, she would be spending Christmas alone. She was looking forward to it. She could celebrate in her own way instead of pretending as she had to do almost every Christmas.
Roseanne smiled as she thought back to Christmas in the past, when she was growing up. Her dad was the original Santa Claus, in her opinion. Not only that, but the religious meaning of Christmas was very special to him and he never let her forget that part of Christmas in her excitement over Santa. He had an operatic voice and would sing his favorite Christmas song, “O Holy Night,” to her on Christmas Eve. She could hear it as if it were yesterday. He had been gone for 34 years now.
Roseanne let herself descend into a dreamlike state and thought of one Christmas in particular. She was in the third grade. Her dad had left that year in January, supposedly to find work. He had spent the year working in Wisconsin and Northern Michigan. She didn’t know until she was an adult that he and her mother were actually separated that year. She had missed him so terribly that she could hardly do her school work. She had cried when her mother suggested getting a Christmas tree, but she finally agreed to a small one. It didn’t feel right with her daddy.
When her Daddy was home on Christmas Eve, she always got up really early and he met her in the living room to see her “Santa Claus” gifts. When Christmas Eve came, she knew it would never be the same without her daddy. She woke up early anyway and went downstairs, thinking she would just sit and look at the tree until her mother awakened. She climbed up in his big easy chair and sat there and cried for him.
Suddenly, she heard someone at the back door, using what sounded like a key. She froze in the chair. The person walked in, making a lot of noise. Could it be Santa, she wondered? But a miracle happened! Her Daddy walked into the living room with a bag of presents. She flew into his arms.
After not seeing him for almost a year, she and her daddy sat under the tree and had Christmas. It was 3 a.m., so they didn’t wake her mother who wasn’t well. Then, she fell asleep in his arms in the big easy chair. That’s how her mother found them the next morning.
Roseanne roused herself from her dream state both smiling and crying. She still missed him so much.
She walked over to her recording system and found “O Holy Night.” As she listened to it, she grew more calm. Her future was uncertain, but a good and wise friend had given her good advice. He had advised her to let it come to her and have some faith. For the first time in her life, she was going to try to follow that advice. She would always hold her dad and that very special Christmas close to her heart. It would help her have faith.