This is the time of year when we think about family traditions and happy stories around the magic of Christmas.
Someone reminded us once that we should visit the barn on Christmas Eve “just in case” some marvelous happening was occurring in a manger.
We never found a miracle, however, if someone in need appeared at the door, there would be room somewhere.
A near miracle did happen once.
Santa and his great gift sleigh made an appearance.
This is how it happened.
One of our sons was five at the time and very excited about Christmas. So excited, he wouldn’t go to sleep.
Of course that delayed Santa putting gifts under the tree. Santa and his helpers hatched a plan.
“Santa” would arrive; you could hear the sleigh bells faintly at first and get louder until they stopped on the barn roof, or some other precarious place.
To be sure, the child was sleeping beside an open window.
It is warm upstairs in a two-storey log cabin with the wood heat full on.
He heard the sleigh bells, jumped to his feet at the window to hear Santa say: “Ho, ho, ho. I hope all good little boys and girls are asleep here.”
To which the child answered: “No Santa, my brother is asleep, and I’m just going.”
Santa said: “I will be back later.” The bells rang and faded into the night sky, ”ho, ho, ho.”
With that, he hit the pillow and went fast asleep.
The parents got to go to sleep early that evening, with the children asleep.
Thereafter, word got out into the community and at the Big Lake School that Santa’s existence was affirmed.
After all, the child had talked to Santa himself.
David Zirnhelt is a member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association and chair of the advisory committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching program which is starting at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake this January.