By Kathy, Founder
As a child, I can recall many different emotions as the holidays came around. Before the age of seven, when abuse began for me, I recall the excitement, the joy, the magic of Christmas. Wondering each year what Santa was going to bring to me, in hopes always of a new baby doll. And hoping, I behaved all year to get it.
It was after the abuse began, at the age of seven, that I had a new perspective on Christmas and the anticipation was there, yet, the fear and anxiety was also there. I was told often and regularly that Santa wasn’t coming because I was a naughty girl. So often I was surprised when he did come. Not knowing for sure why he really did bring me presents.
And then at the age of twelve, when abuse began with a priest, even a new perspective was over taken by me. I didn’t believe in Santa, and I knew from my older siblings there was no Santa. Though I still wanted to believe in the magic, reality brought me back down. I believed I didn’t deserve anything for Christmas because of what I felt was going on in my world. I didn’t want Christmas to even come and didn’t want to keep reminding myself how bad I really was believing all my abuse was surely my fault. I know Christmas wasn’t about Santa, it was about Jesus and the celebration of his birth. In which even made me even more sure, I wasn’t worthy enough to receive anything at all. How could Jesus possibly want to be kind to me or bring me gifts, when bad things were happening in the house of God, right underneath his nose. It truly was a confusing time, knowing the real reason of Christmas being Jesus and the reality of what was happening to me. I believed surely God was punishing me.
As I became an adult with children, the magic of the holidays returned, now knowing that my favorite one of all is Thanksgiving. No candy, no gifts, just sitting together over a great meal thanking God for all we have. As for Christmas, my children had the magic of Santa in their hearts, yet, they had the real reason we celebrated this season, the birth of baby Jesus, as we always wished him a Happy Birthday on Christmas day. Now, they are adults and can experience the magic of Christmas with their own children, hoping and remembering it’s not all about Santa, though, he does bring great gifts, but also a reminder that baby Jesus was born. And as for me now, yes, I love to see the excitement in my children’s eyes as well now as my grandchildren celebrating Jesus’s birth and the arrival of Santa Claus. The innocence they all have as children, bring much joy to me as well as sadness to my heart being reminded I never really had that innocence as a child. It makes me happy to see them happy, and yet for presents, I really still can do without them. I’d rather give than receive. It’s a more rewarding feeling in all.