Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christ and Santa... Why can't we be friends?!?

I got a letter from a friend the other day and she shared this story with me.  I loved it so much that I decided you all needed to hear it.  I think we mistake Santa for something bad, when he is really trying to bring a spirit of Christ into the season.

She writes:
I remember my first Christmas adventure 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 Calus," 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.  I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so.  It had to be true.

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 you coat, and let's go."

"Go?  Go where, Grandma?"  I asked.  I hadn't even finished my second world-famous 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 it's 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 was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby.  He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in class.  Bobby didn't have a coat.  I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter.  His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all the kids knew that Bobby didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat.  I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement.  I would buy Bobby a coat.  I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood on it.  It looked really warm, and he would like it.  "Is this a Christmas present for someone?"  the lady behind the counter asked kindly as I laid my ten dollars down.  "Yes, ma'am,"  I replied shyly.  "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat.  I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.  Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy.  Then she drove me over to Bobby's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.  Grandma parked down the street from Bobby'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 the front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door 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 Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering beside my Grandma, in Bobby'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.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside:  $19.95.

I see that Santa truly is here to help us think of the Savior, and that is so often misunderstood.  We think of Santa and think of the many presents we hope he brings.  That's not what he truly represents.  As I think of Santa I think of his service and giving.  He works hard all year to be able to bring presents to everyone and make them happy.  He is there to remind us that giving is fun and that we should try to make others happy.  Santa truly should lead us back to Christ.

Merry Christmas!  May we all remember that Christ is the Reason!

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