Ah, the gentleness of it all. And tired, that\u2019s what they are. The two that the dreams of little children are piled onto as Christmas draws near. The little lap-sitters. Those who whisper in Santa\u2019s ears, and accept a cookie from Mrs. Claus, and those of us who wish we could. To be able to ask for world peace. And get it delivered in a package with a bow on it, a promise and a gift for all mankind. To be able to ask for each of us and all of us enough work to pay the bills, and maybe just a bit left over to give away to someone else, yet if each of us and all of us had enough, who would need our just a bit left over? To be able to ask Santa for food for the hungry. Or, maybe, should we help feed them? Coats and scarves and boots and mittens and gloves for those who don\u2019t have them. Or, maybe, should we help clothe them? To be able to ask Santa for shelter for the homeless. Or, maybe, should we help house them? To ask Santa? Or to ask God. To ask for direction, the how and the where and the what, but knowing there is need, not asking the why \u2026 only help meet it. And the answer is \u2026 What\u2019s your\u2019s? Sometimes mine is yes. Sometimes I swap an answer for an excuse. Guilty or not guilty? I\u2019m not asking you. I\u2019m looking in a mirror. Do I believe in Santa? Love to. Love to take pictures of those near here this time of the year, and yet, I can see God anytime. In the shining of the stars. In the hiding of the sun, a cool rain, a swallow learning to soar, or a wren popping to the ground or into the bushes below the birdhouse, and finding the courage to journey on. Do I believe in reaching within and reaching out? To those I know? And those I don\u2019t? What do I do with the people He sends me? Deep thought. Searches the soul. Touches the spirit. Or not. Then, the question becomes again, what do we do with the people God sends us? As I watched Santa and Mrs. Claus walk hand-in-hand into the darkness of the night, the lights refusing to cooperate in the camera and turning the image into a surreal wonderland of sorts, they kept going until the darkness swallowed them up. It was a heart-tugger. A thought-bugger. A moment to remember, and tuck away to look at and remember and feel again, as I look at the darkness that swallowed them up, the lights that still squiggled on the picture\u2019s image, and wondered, where is the joy? On the faces of little children hoping upon hope Santa will come to their house this year, whether they\u2019ve been only sometimes nice or especially naughty. On the faces of the elderly as they wait and hope not for Santa to visit, but for a family member or a neighbor, a person they see at church on Sunday who hugs them and says loves them and calls now and again. It is Christmas time again. How will you celebrate. Alone? Invite someone in. With many? Don\u2019t leave someone out. Santa and Mrs. Claus finished their job in a small northern town that cold winter snowless night, then slowly made their way back into the darkness and left for home. They walked hand-in-hand. What do you do with the people God sends you? Please. Walk hand-in-hand. Give them a hand-up when need be. They don\u2019t want a handout. That \u201cneed be\u201d could be at Christmas or in mid-January or the end of May or in the middle of some night. What do you do with the people God sends you? I know what some did for me. They gave me hope when I had none. They gave me courage to face the morning. They helped me stand when I had fallen. Again and again. They helped me live when I wanted to die. Please know, the outcome would not have been the same, had there not been those with Christmas hearts. They breathed life back into a weakened soul. For that I am grateful, with that I try to pass it on. From my heart to your\u2019s, Merry Christmas.