Believing, Anticipating, Aware

by Elizabeth deGraw Renna

As I lay in bed last night, I started thinking about Christmas as a child and I realized that I can actually remember believing in Santa Claus, believing that he was going to come to our house sometime on Christmas Eve and leave presents. He was going to taste the cookies that we had left for him and he was going to take the carrots and give them to his hard working reindeer.

One of the bedrooms I had as a child faced south, with two windows right by my bed, giving me an expansive view of sky as well as street lights, trees, and glimpses of the busy street two blocks away. I sat on my bed and gazed out those windows, looking at the dark nighttime sky and imagining Santa flying in on his sleigh, pulled by his magical reindeer. Christmas Eve, in bed, was a jumble of feelings: anticipation, excitement, and a certain awareness that was like energy pulsing around me. And of course today, being drawn to words and to writing, I want to try to describe that memory and that moment.

Believe, verb

– To accept as true or real

Anticipate, verb

– To foresee

– To look forward to; expect

Expect, verb

– To look forward to the occurrence or appearance of

Expectation, noun

– The act or condition of expecting

– Eager anticipation

Anticipation and expectation combined in my young mind and resulted in feelings of excitement as well. It feels like a definite “first, then” situation: first came the feelings of anticipation and then came the excitement, so strong that I didn’t really sleep very well on Christmas Eve as a believer in Santa.

Excite, verb

– To stir to activity; stimulate

– To arouse strong feeling in; provoke

The hardest part of the Christmas Eve experience to describe now is the awareness that I had. It was an awareness that Santa was on his way, that at some unknown point in time during the night he would be downstairs, in my living room, leaving gifts and eating a cookie and taking the carrots for his reindeer. I woke up so many times during the night on Christmas Eve, checking the clock to see if I could get up yet. In those moments when I saw that it was still the middle of the night, I would wonder if Santa had already been to our house, or was he possibly downstairs right at that moment. Spine tingling expectancy. A rippling energy of awareness.

As an adult now, trying to use words to describe a moment from my childhood, I realize why I’m struggling a bit to put a memory on paper. That moment in time as a child was experienced as feelings and sensations, without words. It was a memorable moment, surprising me now in its clarity, but it was a moment that just was. As amazing a moment as it was, I didn’t analyze it as a child; I didn’t try to dig deeper to understand it in new ways. I was simply experiencing the moment, being simply present, anticipating the near future (Christmas morning) but also caught up in the anticipation and the shimmery energy of awareness, of magic about to happen.

That’s enough words, now.