I retired from the Army, grew a beard, and became Santa.
Day three one of my elves whispered, “Santa, you’re about to see three orphans. Their foster parents have been approved to adopt them, and they want YOU to tell them!”
Stunned, I mumbled, “What would you like for Christmas?” I didn’t hear their requests, wondering, “What can I say? What CAN I say?”
Then it came to me. I said, “I’ll see, but I have something for you today.”
“What’s that Santa?” the oldest asked.
“A Family,” I said.
They looked puzzled, but when I explained they were staying together, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
In the Hero’s Journey, the Hero comes back changed by their Quest. Though I didn’t leave my throne, I’d just been on quite a ride.
I learned I wanted to be Santa Claus more than anything. Santa has made me a kinder, and more patient man. With my beard, I stand out anywhere I go. I have to be careful what I say and how I act. I never know where or when a child might see me. I have to be in tune with “the better angels of my nature,” whenever I am in Public.
When I put on my super hero costume and go forth I never promise a toy, but I always offer a hug.
But here’s the thing. Just like Dumbo and his magic feather, the magic is not in the robe. It was inside me all the time. I just needed the license the costume gave me to tap into it.
You may not wear a red suit, but I hereby deputize you to share love and joy, wherever you go. You, and all those around you, will be the better for it.
About Bradley Harper
Bardley retired from the Army as a physician after 37 years of active duty. A pathologist, when not playing Santa he writes historical fiction, and his first novel, A Knife in the Fog, is scheduled for release Oct 2 from Seventh Street Books. In it, a young Arthur Conan Doyle reluctantly joins the hunt for Jack the ripper, only to find out the ripper is hunting him!