Everything is for sale.

And since I've gotten older, I find myself on the buying end of Christmas. There was a magical time when I got presents and never even knew they were bought. They just appeared, from the chimney, from the tree, or in a hanging sock.


But, now I know.

They were for sale. There was never any magic, never any mystery, and never any how-did-this-get-here.

Or was there?

"I used to get so excited about Christmas…”

The steam was coming off her coffee and melting into the edges of her smile like fog down a canyon.

"…but, I haven't felt that magic since I was a kid. I'm looking for it, but can't find it.”

Yea, I know what you mean.

 “But, maybe we're not supposed to find it. Maybe it's supposed to be different now. I don’t know, I just know it’s not the same."

I hear it comes back when you have kids.

"That's what they say. Yea."


Maybe she’s right.

Maybe the magic of Christmas is supposed to change as we change. 

Or do we need to wait for children?

“Uncle Bubby!  Let’s go Water Buffalo hunting!”

Ok!  But we have to be very quiet.  Water Buffalo can hear everything, and we have to sneak up on them.

It’s amazing how a strong stick and my 3 and 6 year old nephew's imaginations can turn a family gathering into a big game hunting adventure.

Our feet crunched as we made our way past briers and fallen trees.

“Uncle Bubby!  Look!  I can see a squirrel!”

That’s right!  There’s a bunch of them!

“I can see them cause there’s no leaves on the trees.”

How'd the leaves get off the trees?

"When it's time, they dry up and the trees let them go and they fall."

You're right.  You're very right. What else can you see?!

His eyes busted open like an exploding acorn.

“There’s a Water Buffalo!!”

When kudzu covers an old tree it takes the shape of many things.  Today, it was the spitting image of a genuine Water Buffalo. 

How’d you see that Water Buffalo?!

“Uncle Bubby, I told you.  You can see more when there’s no leaves on the trees.”

Moments like these make me question if age and wisdom are related at all.

Sometimes, when the leaves aren’t in the way we can see what’s been there the whole time.

Real squirrels.

Real briars.

And we can see what we’ve always been looking for: Imaginary Water Buffalo

Maybe we do need children to show us the magic again.  Or maybe we just need them to show us the magic in the trees.

Trees don't hold onto their yesterday.

They let go so we can all see more clearly.

I wonder what else we may see if we let go and let the leaves fall?

Maybe we’d see magic like this:

Pour over coffee. Seriously. Who knew coffee was supposed to taste this way. There’s magic at the end of that 7-minute wait. Trust me.

There's a word you hear around the Christmas holiday: Emmanuel. Translated, "God with Us", followers of Christ believe that on Christmas, God came into human history for the sake of humanity. Just to be with us.  It’s a message of hope, of love, and of searching. You don't have to be a believer to understand that there’s magic in knowing you’re loved, longed for, and someone is searching for you.

Those little packets of Vitamin C elixir you’re supposed to take when you get sick also make excellent hangover remedies.  If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.

That same six-year-old boy used his tooth fairy dollar to better the life of a man he’s never met.  When the lessons of the many teachers distill into a single act of giving, there is magic.

There’s a moss that grows in the woods in Oregon. When it rains, the moss glows a color of green I’ve never seen before. There’s a magic only rain can make.

Maybe the magic we need has been right in front of us all along.  If only we would look, if only we would listen.

Maybe that's all it was ever supposed to be, and if we can let some leaves fall, we may see it again.

Now, excuse me, it’s Christmas morning and I have to go find some Water Buffalo.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.


What leaves are in your way?  Have they dried up?  Can you let them go?