This question always comes up this time of year. Every young boy and girl comes to the point in their life where they really want to believe in Santa yet they have a sense that He is not real.
I can still remember when I was eight years old and Christmas was only two weeks away. Mom told me and my older sister to get our bikes and ride over to grandma's house; she wanted to take us shopping. Off we went as fast as our legs could peddle. Going to grandma's house was always a treat; we knew she would have something fresh out of the oven like cookies or cake. We were on the way there when my sister told me that Santa Claus wasn't real. This came as a shock although I had begun to suspect as much.
There were two things I knew I could count on with grandma, there would be something good to eat and she always told me the truth no matter what. So when we got there while I was working on my second giant chocolate chip cookie I asked her about Santa and told her what sister had said.
"No Santa Claus?" she laughed. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for many years, and it makes me mad, just plain mad!! Get your coat on, and let's go you can finish your cookie on the way."
"Where are we going grandma?" I still had room for at least two more cookies.
"We've got to do some shopping." She said as we went out to get into her little Nash Rambler. My sister was quiet as we drove to the store. I don't think she liked it when grandma told me that Santa's demise was premature.
Grandma pulled up in front of Woolworths Department Store and parked the Nash. When we got into the store grandma handed me a ten dollar bill. I had never had that much money in my life.
Then she said, "Go and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll meet you back at the car when you're done."
I just stood there for a few minutes watching the crowd of people rushing around buying presents. I started thinking about mom and dad and then everyone
I knew from school and church but I couldn't think of anyone who I knew that needed anything. Then Bobby's name popped into my head. Bobby sat right behind me in Mrs. Jones second grade class. His hair was always messy and sometimes he didn't smell too good but Bobby was always nice to me. Now Bobby didn't have a coat --- his mother had written a note to Mrs. Jones asking if she would keep Bobby in at recess time because he had a cold but we all knew Bobby didn't have a cold.
As I looked at the ten dollar bill in my hand I knew what I had to buy. I went to the coat section and tried on coats as Bobby was just a little smaller than I was. I found a really warm blue one with a hood; I knew he would like it so I took it to the lady at the counter.
She looked at it and asked, "Is this a Christmas present for someone?"
I said, "Yes ma'am." As I explained to her about Bobby not having a winter coat.
She smiled as she took my ten dollars and said, "This will take care of it." She put the coat in a big bag and said, "Merry Christmas." She smiled as she handed me the bag.
That evening grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper. A little tag fell out of the coat and grandma tucked it into her Bible. Grandma wrote on a small card, 'To Bobby, from Santa Claus' and taped the card to the coat.
Then grandma drove me over to Bobby's house explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.
We parked just down the street a little ways from Bobby's house. We crept slowly up to Bobby's porch.
Grandma said, "All right Santa Claus put the present by the door, ring the doorbell and come over into the bushes with me and we'll hide so no one will see us."
I took a deep breath, ran up to his front door, laid the present down, rang the doorbell and made a wild dash for the bushes and grandma.
We watched as the door opened and there stood Bobby. He reached down, picked up the present and then ran into the house calling, "Mom."
Forty eight years haven't dimmed the thrill I got that night or the joy of sharing I learned that night standing in the bushes at Bobby's house. That's the night I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what grandma said they were --- ridiculous. Santa was alive and well and I was on his team. I still have grandma's Bible with the coat tag tucked inside --- $19.95.
Whenever or wherever you find the spirit of love you'll find that God is in the midst. All were poor and lost when God gave us the gift of His Son. No greater gift has ever been given and thus set the tone for how each and every one of us should live our lives to love and share all God has given us even when we did not deserve anything. The wise men came bearing gifts for the new King and wise men still seek Him. The tradition started with them and has lasted over two thousand years.
Share the gift of love you were given, not just this Christmas but each and every day let others see the love of Christ in you!
1 John 4:7-11 KJV 7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
The legend of Santa Claus is the legend of love. Saint Nicklaus loved God and gave his all to see that those who had nothing knew there was a God who loved them. Keep His spirit alive and share your love this year.
Bob Goulding - Re-written December 2007