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I have mentioned before the lifelong love of books and reading that was instilled in me at an early age.  This time of year I always think fondly of the Christmas themed books of my youth from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to various adaptations of the Christmas story.  However, one that always stands out if “The Polar Express.”

As most probably know, this book was turned into a feature film by Robert Zemeckis a few years back using the motion capture technology he subsequently used for “Beowulf” and “A Christmas Carol.”  I’ve come to cherish the film almost as much as I cherished the book.  The reason for this isn’t the incredible visuals, the wonderful performances, or even the sheer Christmas joy.  It is because of a simple message it communicates throughout, but especially in the final twenty minutes or so.

It can be summed up in one word: BELIEVE.

In this modern world it can be easy to scoff at that concept.  Santa Claus is something that most relegate to their youth, a mere memory of what we once were at Christmas.  But, I submit to you that Santa Claus is indeed alive and well.  He is even now hitching up his sleigh and preparing to bring joy around the world as he does every year.

Now, I know I sound crazy to some, but what I speak is true.  I know it in my heart, because I BELIEVE.  Santa is all around us if we would just take a look around.  He is the true spirit of the season and he will always be there for us.  Santa isn’t about presents and trees, though.  He is about brotherhood.  He is about faith.  And, perhaps most importantly, he is about belief.

Santa lives in the hearts of people who brave the winter weather to flood their yards with electric lights to praise the season.  Santa lives in the eyes of the man who reaches out to his fellow man with a helping hand.  Santa’s sleigh bells are the sound of children’s laughter as they bask in the wonder of the holidays.  Santa is the smile that plays on our lips as we feel the strange warmth in the winter wind blowing around us this time of year.

Wherever people join together to share the simple joy of this wonderful time of year, Santa is there, drinking to their health.  Wherever someone weeps or mourns for someone who is not with them in this season, Santa is there with a hand on their shoulder to comfort them.  Wherever people remember that Christmas is more than gifts, candy, and brightly colored paper, Santa is there.

I believe, and I always will.  I was taught at a young age that Christmas is a joyous time, not because I get to tear open packages, but because of what the season represents.  And, whether you hold the Christian faith or not, the joyous energy of the season can be infectious.  We are all wanderers through this same life.  A time of joy amidst the pain and sorrow of the world can unite us.

So, don’t relegate Santa to that box of forgotten and unused dreams.  Look around and see his hand everywhere around you.  See his smile in the happiness of the season.  Listen for his sleigh bells on the winds of the night.  Let yourself be a beacon of joy, hope, and peace this Christmas.

And, above all, BELIEVE.

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