Growing up with gnomes

Our two BC grandsons are growing up in a world of magic. There are gnomes living in the forest near their North Vancouver home. When the boys were younger, we’d often explore the forest looking for gnome homes.

The closest we ever came to finding one was this little gnome gate.

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Now that the boys are in school and busy with other organized activities and play dates with friends, it’s been quite awhile since we’ve gone into the forest together, but the gnomes are still very much a part of their lives. Many years ago, our son and daughter-in-law installed a tiny gnome door on the outer wall of the family room so that the little men can come and go whenever they want. Though they never show up in the daytime, it’s obvious that they sometimes visit at night. They always decorate around their door for special occasions like Halloween and Christmas and they often leave tiny gifts for the boys.

In a world that is increasingly filled with stress and fear, I’m glad that there is also magic and wonder, imagination and creativity, and I’m thankful for parents who make the effort to nurture it!

Christmas magic

In one of her recent posts, LouAnn who writes On the Homefront, asked a pertinent question.

So what proof do you have of the magic of Christmas? What is your “kernel” of Christmas magic?  

My mind immediately went back to one of my most poignant Christmas memories. Ten years ago, it captured the imagination of Laura Eggertson, now a self-employed writer, editor and freelance journalist who was, at that time, writing for Homemaker’s magazine. Here’s the introduction to her December 2002 Special Feature entitle Christmas Kindness.

“The knock on the door came late on Christmas Eve, as Elaine and Richard DeBock were putting their children to bed. The family had just returned from a service at their church in Sedgewick, Alta., a small town southeast of Edmonton.

The DeBocks’ four-year-old daughter, Janina, was home from hospital after an eight-week stay. She was dying of leukemia. Though Elaine still had hope, she knew this would likely be Janina’s last Christmas. As she tried to make it a joyous occasion, she also battled her sorrow.

When she opened the door, the bearded figure on the front stoop was one the children were expecting – though a complete surprise to the DeBocks. There stood Santa Claus and, without a word, he nodded to the adults and strode in, gifts in hand for Janina and her two-year-old brother. Barely stopping to register the children’s wide-eyed delight, he waved a mitten-clad hand and was gone.

“To this day, 20 years later, we have no idea who the kind stranger was who helped make our little girl’s last Christmas a magical one,” says DeBock, a teacher who still lives in Sedgewick. “I believe in Santa Claus.”

The anonymous Santa gave the DeBocks a Christmas they will never forget. Though the circumstances were exceptional, the gesture was born of a more ordinary gift: simple kindness.”

We’re approaching our 30th Christmas since the one described above. Many people helped lighten our load during those dark days but none was quite as magical as the anonymous Santa. Such a simple act of kindness, yet we were blessed so profoundly.

I often thought that if I learned the identity of the unknown Santa, the magic might be lost but not so.  The mystery was solved just a few years ago when his mother, back in town to play in our annual ladies golf tournament, happened to mention the incident to me. He was just a young man with a big heart. Like the rest of our small community, he knew what we were going through and wanted to help.

Maybe that’s the magic of Christmas… reaching out in love to help someone in need. After all, isn’t that what the babe in the manger was all about?

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  

John 10:10

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