Monday morning found me suffering from post-holiday stress disorder.
The combination of taking a couple of days off from work, eating too much and watching wall-to-wall football all weekend left me feeling a bit out of sorts.
So along about lunch time, I closed the door to my office, took the phone off the hook, and settled in for a quick power nap.
No sooner had my eyes started to close than I heard a sharp rapping sound at the door.
Annoyed, I got up and yanked the door open just a little too hard.
I thought I said I didnt want to be disturbed, I grumbled.
So you did, my good fellow, and I wont keep you but just a minute.
Standing before me was the strangest sight. A small, rather drawf-ish looking man, dressed in green felt coat and short britches, with peppermint red-and-white striped stocking and matching cap.
Im sorry, I put my money in the kettle at Walmart already, I said, starting to close my door. Third ringer from the left.
But my good fellow, said the imp before me, sticking a pointed boot into my doorway that kept me from closing it all the way. I dont represent the Salvation Army, nor any other charity.
Then you must be a politician, and its way too early to be talking about political endorsements for next year, I countered. Besides, being dressed like that isnt likely to get you many votes in this part of the world, friend.
But my dear sir, you really dont understand, said the little man, pushing past me to stand in the middle of the room. I am not here to ask anything of you. Im here to make a delivery.
Delivery? I snarled. I havent ordered anything on the Internet lately. Dont know that I will, even. I may just not even celebrate Christmas this year. The world is looking pretty bleak from where I sit, friend, and I dont know what there is to celebrate.
The little fellow pulled a well-worn looking sheet of faded notebook paper from his pocket.
Recognize this? he asked, thrusting the paper at me.
Written in a childish scrawl across the top six lines were these words:
Dear Santa, if I get bicycle for Christmas this year, I promise to never stop believing in you.
In a flash, I remembered writing those very words on a scrap of paper when I was about 8 years old.
Hey, whered you get this? I asked.
The boss just thought you could use a reminder, the little fellow said, his eyes twinkling. Christmas is what you make of it, not what you have or dont have.
I took a step backward. It was as though I were 8 years old again, riding that Schwinn bicycle with the wind blowing through my hair and thinking how good life really can be.
Say, youre right, little fella, I turned to say. Christmas is whats in a persons heart, isnt it ...?
But the strange little man was gone. The room grew black. Next think I knew, the office phone was ringing me awake.
Must have been a dream, I said to myself as I reached over to grab the telephone.
A smile on your face and a sincere Merry Christmas on your lips might be all you need to make someones holiday a bit brighter, the familiar, high-pitched voice said. Make enough other peoples Christmas brighter, and yours will be, too.
Thats good advice if well all just heed it.