It was Christmas eve, 1990 and I was eight years old. I had never once doubted that I was blessed to be living in the beautiful Carolinas. The ocean was only an hour away, the weather was always nice with mild winters. As a child, I thought it was perfect, except for one thing. In all my eight long years I had never seen a single flake of snow, and it was first on my wish list to Santa every year.
This particular Christmas was a very special one, but potentially a very sad one as well. It was my last Christmas in South Carolina, the last time I would get to spend the holiday with my closest friends. I guess it was because of this that my family and I were getting to spend Christmas Eve with my best friend Kelly and her family.
Kelly and I were trying to embrace the moment and create memories that would last us a lifetime. Every now and then we’d look out the window to see if there was any sign of Santa, although neither of us really believed in Santa anymore. She was a year older than me which made her nine at the time, and I’d had my Santa beliefs crushed the year before. But since this was a special year we had every intention of asking Santa for the one thing we wanted more than anything in the world, in hopes that maybe we were wrong and he really did exist.
It was getting late and my parents had already announced that it was time for us to go home. Kelly and I, however, were in no rush. If our wish was to be granted, we felt like we needed to see Santa with our own eyes so there we sat, hiding under a table near the window, watching feverishly for any sign of Santa or his sleigh. We were quickly running out of time but we hadn’t lost hope. At the last possible moment, Kelly looked up into the night sky and there, in the distance, was a blinking red light. We knew, without a doubt, that it was Rudolph pulling Santa’s sleigh. I felt Kelly grab my hand and squeeze, we closed our eyes, and with all our hearts and souls we wished that I wouldn’t have to move away.
Now that I am older and I look back on that time, I realize, of course, that Kelly and I were wishing on an airplane and that Santa had nothing to do with what happened that Christmas. The reality of it was that God had given me my Christmas wish, and as He always does, I got the wish He intended for me to have, not the one that I was hoping for.
The next morning, Christmas day, I awoke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Christmas morning is the only morning of the entire year that this happens; the rest of the mornings I awake groggy and sleepy. This Christmas morning, aside from being my last, wasn’t going to be any different than the previous seven. I wandered into my parents’ bedroom to wake them up. My sister and I were never allowed to go into the living room until my parents were there because the presents from Santa were often not wrapped. So, I went back to my own room to wait for my parents to say it was time to open presents.
I hadn’t noticed this when I woke up, but as I returned to my room I realized that the light shining through the window was brighter than on most mornings. Curious about what might cause this, I went to look out my window. I am quite sure that my squeal of delight could’ve woken an entire neighborhood. To my amazement, the ground was covered with a light blanket of snow. This was something I’d never before seen in my life but had always wished for. I was ready to bypass my presents altogether and head straight out the door.
After having breakfast and opening our presents, my first instinct was to run outside, but there was something I had to do first. I called Kelly. It was something we did every year. One of us would call the other to compare presents and share our Christmas cheer. This year we had even more excitement to share but we cut our conversation a little short so that we could both go out and enjoy the snow.
My dad helped me build a snowman and then pulled my baby sister and I around in our little red wagon. We had a snowball fight and made snow angels. My mom took some snow into the kitchen and later introduced us to something called snow-cream which is quite delicious. I’m not sure how long I actually stayed outside in the snow that day, but it seemed like it must’ve been hours and hours. Time seemed to be at a stand-still. I played and played. The snow was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. Not just that, but this Carolina white Christmas had given me something to look forward to. We were moving farther north and I knew that I would see snow nearly every winter. The snow of that year somehow seemed to make the fact that I was moving much more acceptable. I still believe that the South Carolina snow of 1990 was a special gift to me from God. It was His way of telling me that he felt my anguish and that He was there to get me through it.
That Christmas is my most memorable to date. Although my Christmas wish from that year did not come true, my wishes for the previous seven years was granted. It’s funny how God works. The snow made that Christmas the best one I could’ve asked for instead of the saddest one, and it gave me the courage that I needed to make the move and the faith that everything would work out. In February of the next year my family moved to Kentucky and for many years, even into early adulthood, I continued to call Kelly on Christmas morning. I can’t remember the last time that I called her, though. Maybe this year is the year to bring that tradition back to life, maybe it’ll even be a white Christmas. For me, a white Christmas is God’s reminder to me that He is always there for me.