When I was three I wandered out of my bedroom on Christmas Eve and discovered my mom putting presents under the tree and stuffing my stocking and just like that, the illusion of a jolly old man in a red suit delivering toys to all the children of the world was destroyed.
Somewhere between junior prom and my bachelor's degree the trend reversed; I became a believer.
Most people abide by 1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things." Apparently I am not most people. The older I got, the stronger my belief grew in not only the magic of Christmas, but in the Big Man himself.
I often hear people say they don't watch the news any more because it's too depressing. They feel like the world around them is overrun with wars, poverty, economic downturns, gang violence, and celebrities and politicians who either can't remember or don't care who they're married to.
But when the Christmas trees go up and the lights come on, something amazing happens. Across the country bells ring and people throw their spare change into red kettles. Marines decked out in their dress uniform stand on street corners alongside their moms, dads, brothers and sisters to collect toys for needy children in their communities. Regular people and local businesses partner with radio stations donating time and money to grant wishes as simple as new coats for their children or as elaborate as a new van to transport a disabled child.
Churches, shelters, and soup kitchens feed hundreds of thousands of families who wouldn't otherwise get a meal. Charities buy presents for children whose parents are in prison, helping those children find some sense of normality during the holidays.
I have even been told there is sometimes a break during battle on Christmas day.
We become a little more like the people we wish we were.
I know it won't last. It never does. Once the decorations go back in the attic and we polish off the last of the pie, things will go back to normal. That's why I believe it is Christmas that brings the magic. And although he may not arrive on a reindeer pulled sleigh, there is just no denying that the spirit of Santa comes alive every holiday season.
Look around and I think you, too, will become a believer.