CHARLOTTE, NC, December 24, 2017 : Years ago, while shooting a video during winter in Finland, we happened upon a little town above the Arctic Circle called Ravaniemi. I was amazed to discover that, despite the popular myth, Rovaniemi is the real home of Santa Claus rather than the North Pole. It is the home of Christmas hope.
During our visit, I had an opportunity to meet Mr. Claus, and we immediately became good friends. After all, how could you not be friends with St. Nick?
He promised that when my grandchildren were old enough, he would make a pre-Christmas visit to our house to meet them and bring them some early Yuletide joy.
Last Sunday, Santa kept his word and showed up full of Christmas spirit and holiday joy. In fact, the word got around the neighborhood and a few other children just had to come by to meet the jolly old elf.
These are some of the photos of those extraordinary moments we shared with the world’s most famous spirit.
Over the course of the year, I have collected words of inspiration that have been sent to me by friends and relatives to aid my battle with ALS.
The first is a poem we all probably studied when we were in high school. How appropriate it seems in this winter season to have been written by a man named Frost.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost (1923)
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
From another source came these words of wisdom:
“On-going problems are like our own personal coach; business coach, family counselor, teacher
“We should look at challenges – as opportunities, to learn to grow, to develop.
“They will be beside us until we decide to address them.
“Generally they don’t go away…(so) why not face them?
“Once you have become grateful for a problem it loses its power to drag you down.
“Being thankful for it will lift you up.”
“Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”
Then these words expressed in two simple but poignant lines:
“God has created a new day silver and green and gold.
Live that the sunset may find us, worthy his gifts to hold.”
And finally, a similar poem I wrote a quarter of a century ago, long before ALS was a part of my life. It refers to the Broadway musical “A Chorus Line” which focuses upon young dancers pursuing their dreams.
In fact, it could be about anyone who has the determination and drive to challenge their goals, even when they do not fully succeed.
Kiss the Day Goodbye…Softly
by Bob Taylor (1983)
May each sunrise awaken you and lift your spirits
May you wrap your arms around each moment and hold them dear
May you embrace the hour with joy and never let it go
So that when the tired sun glows with its promise of tomorrow
You may kiss the day goodbye….
Kudos to Tony Scardaci for his snowy pictures taken from his deck in Clyde, NC and to Nancy Young for the gray, almost invisible, horses in a western Wisconsin snowstorm.
On this Christmas Eve, thanks to all my friends, family and readers for your love and support during my fight against ALS. I fully intend, with total Christmas hope, to be sending a holiday message in 2018, but if I am unable to express such greetings of joy, “may all your Christmases be bright!”
About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up