How to Keep Believing!

Have you read The Polar Express? I love that very last line, “The bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe.”

The countdown to Christmas begins. Notes to Santa have been sent northward and my little ones wait excitedly, confident that Santa has his Garmin programmed for the right address. I still recall the first year that my daughter awoke to her first Santa gift. She had asked for her very own Christmas tree with lights and ornaments! She was visibly shaking as daddy carried her down the stairs and she spied the fully adorned tree. “He really came. He got me what I wanted!” She kept whispering.

As we get older, it seems that our minds get in the way… kids start to ask, “How is Santa in every mall at the same time?” or “How is Santa going to get in if we don’t have a chimney?” My standard response is… “Magic!” But this will only work for so long. In my house, I’m already scrambling because the requests to Santa have taken a bit of a too-magical turn. My boy wants a “come alive suit that will let me fly to Disney World” OR “a magic wand that can poof anything.” Ummmm…. those elves have their work cut out for them!

If we could only bottle up their faith! How can I protect their belief in magic, especially in a society that seems out to prove that it doesn’t exist? How do I encourage my children to dream, to imagine great things when the grown-up world urges us to stick to safe and sensible choices?

I still believe. I’ve written “letters to Santa” practically every day this year in the form of prayers and journal entries. Perhaps a little overkill, I know. BUT hey! I’ve gotten everything I’ve asked for… and there is no arguing the fact that I must be squarely on the VERY naughty list this year.

I believe that our ability to CREATE is magic — it’s the ability to see beyond a present reality to what COULD BE. Not so long ago, I fell in love… with a dream, a possible future. And it was that dream that allowed me to change my life. I’m so grateful for the strength of my imagination, because it was the thing that carried me through a very tumultuous period and got me to this side. It was my resistance to simply accepting reality that allowed me to see past fear and to “make my days replay my dreams.” (as my favorite singer, Christine Kane says). Isn’t that magic?

That my kids can immerse themselves in a world where almost everything “comes alive” and gives them magical powers is, in fact, the magic wand!

So… do the sleigh bells ring for you?


  1. Beautifully said practical mommy. Children truely bring the magic of the season to life…the wonder, the hope, the faith and the love. Blessings to you and yours and thank you for ringing the bells for us all to hear.

  2. Funny, I just went through this last year when my 8 year old daughter looked me square in the eye on Christmas night, and said “just tell me the truth, mom”…it took me a good night’s sleep to come clean with her the next morning when she brought it up again (darn!)…the disappointment in her eyes, that was the killer. But it was thankfully, the moment that showed me what I had to say…I told her that is what faith is all about, believing in what you can’t see so strongly that it carries you through each day, and that there is MAGIC in life…and that is the lesson, to never stop believing.
    That is the irony of it all, and the sad part too…we are part of the grown up world that encourages sensible and safe choices, but our real GIFT to them and really ourselves is encouraging belief in the magical and mystical that we can’t see but that leads us all. To fearlessly hold onto that is the best gift we can give ourselves and our children.

  3. Makes me wonder about your VERY NAUGHTY year, but hey, glad it’s all working for ya! Stumbled…:)

  4. I’d tell you… but I want a CHANCE at being on the GOOD list for next year, at least! 🙂

  5. I have a close friend who is embroiled in the emotional battle of his life. It seems that not many can so easily press through the fears that hold them back. In his attempts at practicing compassion for all those around him he unfortunately lost sight of his own needs (see practical mom’s turkey story) as well as the truest love of his life. His sadness is sooo profound.

    He is now faced with losing everything, but he’s beginning to see glimpses of a fresh light. He is pressing against fear (the mind-killer) and truly BELIEVES that he will end up where he needs and wants to be. Pray for him! He’s a good man with a pure heart. The bells ring loud and clear for him!

  6. Connie, I’m so glad that my holiday musings resonated with you. I believe too… and not to beat a dead horse or anything… I BELIEVE that everyone does the best they can. So yes, pray for your friend but don’t judge him for being fearful, because everyone’s path is different. Just because the paths are different doesn’t mean that any one path is less inspired (or guided) than another. Trust that his choices are the best ones for him and that everything will be as it should be.

    I can totally relate!!! I just realized that my dad faced a lot of the same challenges and it has taken me (his daughter) a lifetime to forgive him for giving up his dreams or at least, my perception that he was not strong enough to go after them. I think that’s why I’m so “practical.” 🙂

    It’s sweet of you to be so compassionate. Be well!

  7. Funny I have been pondering the whole acting out of love vs. acting out of fear thing for a week or two now…and then this appeared in my email box last night :

    To think the higher thought, to live on the level that God wants you to live on, is to retrain your thought process from fear to love. Love is the thought that you want to be affected by.

    To relax, to feel the love in your heart and keep to that as your focus in every situation–that’s the meaning of spiritual surrender. It changes us. We become deeper, more attractive people.

    Marianne Williamson, A Course in Miracles

  8. Jen, I looooove Marianne Williamson. Her book, The Gift of Change was profound for me! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Your quote from A Course in Miracles reminded me of another passage I read from The Art of Happiness (yes, the Dalai Lama himself) that I recently shared with my other friend named Jen:

    “Sometimes, you may encounter situations that require strong countermeasures. I believe, however, that you can take a strong stand and even take strong countermeasures out of a feeling of compassion, or sense of concern for the other, rather than out of anger. One of the reasons why there is a need to adopt a very strong countermeasure against someone is that if you let it pass — whatever the harm or the crime that is being perpetrated against you — then there is a danger of that person’s habituating in a very negative way, which, in reality, will cause that individual’s own downfall and is very destructive in the long run for the individual himself or herself.

    The idea of allowing love (compassion) to be your intention instead of anger (fear) is a subtle shift. I have been called to apply this thinking a lot with my kids especially… not giving in to tantrums because I know that enabling that kind of behavior doesn’t allow them to learn their lessons. They need to sense that I will follow my inner guidance to do what’s best for them, even if it isn’t what they think they want… it’s really what they need.

    BTW, is everyone named Jen?!

  10. Okay… I’ve figured out a solution! A book called “Why Santa Only Brings Things You Can Buy in Stores”

    I’ve got 11 days to “make that happen” and avoid the serious let down when the magic wand only lights up and makes noise!!!!