This time of year, perhaps more than any other, I can almost imagine I’m a kid again. As I watch my kids and other children bubbling over with excitement and wonder, I can still remember the magical feeling in the air, of thinking of Santa and his reindeer and their wondrous journey on Christmas Eve, of the elves, and the secret wishes made on a yule log. As a child, there really is no other feeling that could compare to the magic that is the holiday season, no matter your own spiritual beliefs.
But as we grow older, sadly that wonder tends to fade, and I’m not just talking about Santa. Young kids have the amazing ability to see magic all around them, though older kids and adults are less likely to notice it anymore. Small children don’t question how Santa can make the journey across the world, making many stops, in just one night. They don’t need proof or an explanation of how it happens. They simply believe. Looking back on my own childhood, I don’t even want to imagine how different I would have felt if I didn’t believe in that magic. How different my outlook on life might be, not only as a child but as an adult who remembers that feeling so vividly still. Again, I’m not just talking about Santa and certainly not about presents. I’m referring wholly to the magic, that which we believe without a shred of proof, no matter how implausible.
I was asked in an interview once how, as a fantasy author, I balance the magic and the real. My answer was: I’m not really trying to balance the magic and the real. The idea is that what is real can be magic and what is magic can be real. It’s only a matter of how we choose to look at things. (See that interview here.) And I still believe that. Or in the wise words of the iconic Roald Dahl, “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
Your belief in magic, however you define it and wherever you find it–be it in your religion or the sunrise or the symbiotic relationships we see everywhere in nature–will bring joy to your world in times of strife and sorrow and every other day too. That is the importance of believing!
Happy holidays everyone! And Joy to your world!