By Deborah Malavé Díaz
In Puerto Rico it feels like we celebrate the longest Christmas in the world. Throughout my childhood, every Christmas morning my kid sister would wake me up several times during the night to see if Santa had already left the presents and gifts for us. By the time I was nine years old, I already knew the truth about Santa but for my kid sister Santa was as real and as good as ice cream.
It was 1975 and by Christmas my sister, a very precocious five-year-old, was very excited about the gifts we were just about to receive. She woke me up every hour on the hour to see if Santa had left our presents, until finally, around five o’clock a.m., there they were… our presents. She eagerly opened her gift and it was an educational, colorful, cute plush owl, from the campaign “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute.” Woodsy the Owl came with zippers, bottoms, laces, snap bottoms, and hooks to help children learn how to dress themselves.
She looked at it and hugged it and started crying. As she cried hugging her owl she said “Mi buhito, yo no quiero mi buhito,” which means: “My little owl, I don’t want my little owl.”
I didn’t want to be in her shoes. She kept crying louder and louder, and it woke up my mom. She came and took us back to our bedroom and, consoling her, explained that probably Santa made a mistake; it was very possible that he was on his way back with her gift and Mom asked my sister to go back to sleep and wait. My sister looked at her in horror and, still crying, told my mom: “Don’t you understand?!!! By now Santa should be by New York and for sure will not come back to Puerto Rico just for me!!!”…silence. As I looked at my mom’s face, I didn’t want to be in her shoes either. I lay by my sister’s side on her bed as she cried herself to sleep. Later, that morning she got a cool projector and whole bunch of gifts that I’m sure were meant for my cousins. I can’t remember what I got that 1975’s Christmas. But what I’ll never forget is the whole “owl scene” and my sister in despair because for sure Santa would not come back just for her.
In this time of Advent, as we are expectant for the coming of Jesus, I find myself wondering whose shoes are we in? Are they the shoes of the little girl in despair thinking that no one will come back just for her? Or are they the shoes of the mother, without the proper words or simply speechless amidst hopelessness? Or are they they shoes, maybe, of the older sister, watching it all happen and feeling just a little relief?
Psalm 80:3 says, “Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.” These are the shoes I want all of us in. Let’s wear the shoes of knowing that Jesus came to restore us and will come back for us; the shoes of knowing that in our hopelessness he will save us. Let’s be in the shoes of bringing unto others the shine of God’s salvation.