Santa, Save Our House.

I received a text from my oldest brother asking us not to buy any Christmas presents for he and his wife this year, just their 2 year old daughter (she already has an iPad). Same with my other brother and his family. And with my wife and I. Everyone has children now and the magic of Christmas is in making them squeal while unwrapping toys.

When we were kids I felt that magic — shaking boxes to guess what might be inside, even peeking on some occasions, lying in my bed unable to sleep the night before the Big Day. It was simple then. I only wanted toys. Toys that I probably broke a week after getting them (just like my children do). I don’t even remember the toys I got for Christmas back then except for maybe a couple.

Interesting how your wish list changes when you get older and accumulate responsibilities. Your requests get way more serious and less designed for your entertainment. Santa becomes more of a Consultant in our older age than a jolly elf with a bag of gifts. Our means of asking turns more into beseeching. Our focus settles on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Better yet, just cash. Give me cash unwrapped, straight from your pocket. Or slide it across the table with a candy cane on top to keep it from blowing away.

I haven’t watched the original Miracle on 34th Street, but I like the latest version (circa 1994). The little girl in the movie doesn’t believe in Santa anymore because her jaded, single-mother long since told her the “truth”. Rather than wanting toys like other children, her wish goes way deeper — to have a father. She meets an in-store Macy’s Santa who at first appears deranged as he insists people call him Kris Kringle. Because of his joy and persistent charm, Kris helps her believe again and even helps in the Father Department.

This is a case in point that hearts become heavier during the season and our dim hope for Santa’s help reaches deep. No one should have to ask Santa for something that serious. But, the world is a hard place. It is easy enough for the heart to go cold even during such a magical season.

Heartaches ache more during this time of year. The shame of a lost job stings more. A mound of debt seems alot higher. Christmas is the worst time of year to feel alone, helpless and hopeless. We want to feel at peace and warmed by a strong sense of comfort and security during Christmas.

There are few things that threaten our joy and sense of security at Christmastime, however, than a pending foreclosure. The good news is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have just announced a moratorium will be placed on all foreclosures in the country between December 19 and January 2. Of course, this is just a temporary reprieve. It is expected that in the month to follow close to 90,000 foreclosures will be seen.

My prayer is that we might all be Santas for families facing eviction this season. Forget reasons for why they are in the process. Just reach out with the resources you have. Open your home if you have room and you know they will feel the joy of the season there. If you are able to help financially — perhaps help them get on track with their mortgage payments — then do so. Maybe you can band together with some other neighbors on your street and help the family in need. People still do this sort of thing, we haven’t lost our moral conscience altogether. There may have been a time when this sort of banding together was more common, but why can’t we revisit that time?

Foreclosure can be a demoralizing, disheartening ordeal for a family. Those of us who are doing well enough usually waste our money on eating way too much during the holidays. Why not focus this money on helping those who are trying to stay in their homes? This sort of generous act could be a legitimate Christmas miracle.

Something to think about while you drink your egg nog.


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