As a child I began making my Santa List as soon as the candied apples and popcorn balls had disappeared and the Thanksgiving Pilgrim hats and big white collars were made and waiting to be donned for the school play. The windows in many of the stores in our small hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi were filled with giant flakes cut from lined Blue Horse notepaper, their corners piled high with white cotton “snow.”
The five and dime where I would eventually buy my mother a small bottle of Evening in Paris eau de cologne and my Aunt Baba some brightly dyed embroidery yarn had aisles and aisles of toys, most out of reach of grubby little kiddie hands. The dolls and little china tea sets, clamp-on roller skates, fire trucks with real sirens, baseball bats, gloves, and sparkling white balls with red stitches were on the very top. Shiny grown-up sized pots and pans and stacks of kitchen towels, aprons, napkins, and bars of Ivory Soap were arranged on the lower shelves.
The Western Auto Store which my Uncle managed held the two things at the top of my list: A beautiful doll about 14 inches tall which came with her own doll-sized Toni Home Permanent kit, just like the one my mama used to make her own auburn hair so pretty and curly, and also a pale blue Western Flyer bicycle. Santa brought the doll, but later that same year on my eight birthday I rode off into the June sunshine with my very own powder blue bike! Sweet Wishes. Sweet Memories.
My Christmas Wish List this year, so very, very many years later—three-quarters’ of a century later—of course is very different. There is little material that I could possibly ask for. I have a lovely, comfortable home. Cozy. Perfect. Nice modest car. A closet stuffed with way too many clothes. Books. I cannot possibly read all the wonderful books in my home Library…over 20 linear feet three shelves high. So what can I possibly put on my 2020 Christmas Wish List?
Dear Santa,.

1. I wish that I had had the opportunity to work in a Soup Kitchen. Helping others when they are “down and out.” I see others offering a real helping hand, not just sending money, or water, or canned goods, but putting their arms around those who are suffering. I wish to be there and do that.

2. I wish that at some time during my life I had been able to attend a Special Olympics. I do try to help each year with a donation, but I would like to be in the bleachers, cheering and screaming encouragement as the last runner makes it across the finish line! Watching those sweet, sweet faces light up with victory in their grasp.

3. I wish, Santa, that you had helped me be in a position to accept the invitation to visit our missionary friends in Hong Kong, the ones who raised their three boys in a high-rise condo of 400 square feet (including the square footage of their elevator). We loved entertaining them in our home, but wish that we could have accepted the hospitality they offered us to visit them in the Orient! That goes for our missionary friends from the Philippines who invited us to share their home, to visit their Bible College, to enjoy the food and fellowship of those lovely folks in Manila.

4. Santa, could you make it possible to be accepted into a local chapter of the DAR or the Daughters of the Confederacy? *Wow!! Marci Swetmon of the Newnan Chapter of the DAR whom I met over six months ago (I think?) at a ribbon cutting ceremony at The Senoia Area Historical Society Museum honoring a DAR grant called me yesterday out of the blue. She will put me in touch with the Registrar! Thanks Santa.

5. I wish that I could rock babies in the hospital nursery. I would rock and hum and tell them how much Jesus loves them and how much I hoped for their sweet future. That’s an easy one.

6. Montana and the Big Sky! Oh, Santa, how I wish that I could have seen shooting stars in those deep blue skies over the Rockies. Maybe you can still make it happen?

And finally, I will have to look farther North than Santa or even the Montana skies for this last big wish.
Dear Heavenly Father, This is my greatest wish of all now in this most wonderful season of our year. I wish, I pray, that the health of my sweet husband will be restored. If it is your will, I pray that the doctors and the treatments will work wonders and that You, Lord Jesus will work miracles. Amen.

Merry Christmas and Have a Wonderful 2020, Dear Reader!

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.