51: Extraordinary Magic

51: Extraordinary Magic

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas in Canada

Extraordinary Magic

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

~Roald Dahl

My husband, sister Natalie, and I packed up the kids in the van and ventured off to our favourite tree-cutting farm. Jacob, who was turning four on Christmas Day, was up for the challenge and Bruce, who was just six months old, was happy to be along for the ride with his big brother.

We couldn’t have picked a more perfect Sunday morning. A heavy snow had fallen the night before, covering everything with a clean white blanket. It was cold, but the sun shone so brightly it was almost blinding as it reflected off the sparkling white landscape. It was truly a winter wonderland.

Happily, we tromped through the deep stuff, trying not to fall. Baby Bruce, bulkily bundled in a snowsuit and blanket was pulled in his sled close behind. We could only see a tiny bit of his face, lightly glowing red cheeks and eyes filled with wonder.

Eerily, no one was around — I mean no one. It was only two weeks before Christmas, and this huge tree farm was completely empty: no one to be seen. There weren’t even any tracks in the snow to indicate others had preceded us.

We forged ahead in search of the perfect tree when suddenly, off in the distance, we noticed a man riding a horse on top of a large hill. We all seemed to spot him at the same time, awed and transfixed; everyone but Bruce of course, who was now sound asleep.

Upon closer scrutiny, we realized the man had a white beard, yet oddly, because of the sun, his image wasn’t totally clear. He had a glow about him, a somewhat mystical aura.

Mesmerized, we watched as the man and his horse slowly descended the hill and came toward us. Jacob became very excited and shouted, “Santa!” The man did not correct him. His horse was mostly white but dappled with a few black spots, while the gentle rider was cloaked in a red outfit… fit for working on a Christmas tree farm. It didn’t matter to our boy that he was not wearing a traditional velvet coat or pants trimmed in ermine. He knew it was Santa.

The man carefully reined his horse in just short of Jacob, who was not the least bit frightened by the large animal. Remaining very high on his saddle, he leaned over and quietly asked him how he was and what he might like for Christmas. The man didn’t acknowledge anyone else, but concentrated on our small boy. After the short exchange, he announced that he should be on his way, turned the horse around and slowly moved back up the ridge. We watched silently as he returned to the top, and then he turned and waved as he called out from the distance, “Merry Christmas, Jacob.” In the glow of the sun, the figure became hazy once more as he disappeared over the ridge.

Jacob was thrilled and jumped up and down in the snow calling out, “It was Santa! It was Santa!” The three grown-ups just stared at each other, searching for an answer as to what had just transpired. Did we each see what we thought we saw? Could it be?

Christmas is a magical time for children… but what about for adults?

When children believe, it’s magic.

When grown ups believe, it’s extraordinary.

~Nancy Koruna McIntosh

Thorold, Ontario

More stories from our partners