Chimney cleaners and inspectors do not have the most glamorous jobs. Fireplaces are often filthy, and there is waaaay less singing involved than Mary Poppins would have you believe. However, one chimney sweep had a profound effect on a friend of mine when she was about five or six years old.
It was summer break, and her siblings were outside the house with friends. A strange man was over, and his head, arms, and torso were hidden up the chimney in Sylvie’s living room. Of course she was sitting a few feet away, asking questions each time his head reappeared, despite her father’s pleas to leave the man alone. After a few seconds of silence, the man gasped and squeezed out the chimney and into the living room.
“You will not believe what I just found!” he said, holding his hand out with a small piece of red fabric. “Santa must have snagged his suit on the inside of your chimney and left this behind.”
Sylvie was dumbstruck. Proof! She had proof! Santa was real!
Though Sylvie now knows the truth about Santa, she still has that small piece of fabric, and it reminds her every year about the kindness of strangers and the importance of sparking joy in someone’s life.
If you’re not a chimney sweep, find other ways to inspire joy in the young people around you. It is, after all, the most magical time of year.