Friday, December 4, 2009
Santa is alive and well
I remembered hearing the sleigh bells from Santa's sleigh ring throughout the town when I just a small child. My friends could not convince me that there was not a Santa Clause for a couple of years after that. They made fun of me, they called me names, they cited supposed "proof" that he did not exist, but I was not to be swayed. I just knew that he had to be real.
Finally, one of the children that I played with, went to my sister and told her that there was no Santa. She went hope crying and I got in trouble for spoiling Christmas. It was not my fault, but I paid the price for it anyway. It was years later when I had my first child and I knew that I wanted her to have the chance to believe in magic and dreams. How do you resolve your strong desires with what you also know is right? Finally, I decided that I would tell my children that Santa is the spirit of Christmas and he lives in the hearts of all men. If they wanted to believe the Spirit of Christmas wore a red suit and said, "Ho, ho, ho". That was fine with me.
We also used to "play santa" where we would do something special for someone else and take it to their home and ring the bell or knock on the door and run. The kids loved that game. I was always a nervous wreck that we would be caught. One Christmas, we parked the car all the way at the end of the block to take goodies to one of the many families that we knew. The boys ran to the door and just as they rang the bell the door opened. They ran so fast! We were all sure we had been caught, but we made it. Playing Santa, or doing the twelve days of Christmas for a family were always so much fun! I found this story today and it brought back so many memories that I wanted to share it with you. I hope it brings back many memories for you also.
SANTA IS ALIVE AND WELL
I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"
My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns.
Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus!" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go."
"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything.
As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days.
"Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.
I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.
For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill , wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about though, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's second grade class.
Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.
"Yes," I replied shyly. "It's ... for Bobbie." The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas. That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it -- Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.
Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."
I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie.
Forty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.
May you never forget the joy of Christmas and may you always strive to be on "Santa's Team". Christmas is not about Santa, but it is about becoming like him. The true meaning in Christmas can be found in each one of us as we strive to love our fellow men and become true diciples of Jesus Christ. That is the message of Santa. Anonomus gifts to others with no thought as to what we might receive in turn. We become more Christlike as we truly learn to give. He is the reason that we have Christmas.