Your ears are numb as you struggle through the snow, returning home from a friend's house on Christmas Eve. A loud muffled thud and the crashing of branches jerks your head northward, and you spot a gigantic carriage hanging lopsided from a tree. A knot of reindeer seem sprawled up inside of their harnesses, dangling like ornaments in the branches above. A blur of red and white tumbles out of the contraption into a mound of fluff.
"Omigosh," you mutter as you trudge through the whiteness. "Is that really you, Santa Claus?"
"Uh huh," groans Santa, as he reaches for your arm. "Poor Rudolph must have swung a tad too low on that last maneuver. Can you help me back into the saddle?"
"Ouch! My aching back. Thanks for the lift, my Strong Child. But please, may I ask of you another small favor?"
What next, you think. You're flustered...you're confused. But you can't just leave him here. This is Santa Claus, for God's sake.
"S-sure, Santa. Tell me what to do."
"I'm too weak to drive. I -- Comet! Stop kicking at Prancer." Santa looks at you hard, but with a soft twinkle in his wrinkled eyes. "As you can see, my nine reindeer are getting scared. We need to nudge this old chariot back into orbit. Can you help?"
The old man sighs with disappointment, the twinkle lost from his eye. The black sky looms overhead. The North Pole is so far away, and he knows that the reindeer can't fly in daylight. He needs to return them to the Arctic soon, or they'll die. So he must do it alone. Weak and wounded. All alone.
You crawl in slowly besides him, as he hands you the set of steering reins.
"Sorry for the trouble," he sighs, "but these reindeer can't fly in daylight. And they need to return to the Arctic soon...or they'll die. Time is short." Chugging from an old pipe, the old man leans back intently against the sleigh's upholstery. "Pull 'em up, slowly now. Coax 'em. Easy does it. Be gentle."
Jeez, you think. It's Christmas Eve. I'm in a sleigh...with Santa Claus.
Like magic, the crimson sleigh rises. The harnessed reindeer kick gently upwards, their strong hooves breaking free of the branches.
You stare peacefully into the quiet night. The night stallions seem to know their way. The old man sitting next to you puffs thoughtfully on his pipe. "Some people call me a myth. But I can assure you...I'm as real as your nose." The old codger smiles a tired, dreamy smile. "Mom and Dad may deliver the toys, but I bring something else. I deliver the gift of Hope."
You sail through the blustery clouds, and listen intently to what he says. Suddenly, you come to realize, the myths have all been true. The mystery is real. Santa exists!