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Hartselle Enquirer

A story for Christmas

Dear Readers,

My article this week is a children’s story that I wrote several years ago. I have made it a tradition each year to share it with you. I hope someday to have it published as a children’s book. In the meantime, I pray that this story reminds you and those you choose to share it with of the true meaning of Christmas. I know time is a precious commodity, especially during the Christmas season, so I sincerely thank you for spending some of it with me.

The Greatest Gift of Christmas

It was the day before Christmas Eve and Santa’s workshop was a flurry of activity. Even though Santa had finally gone high-tech and used computers and the internet, he and his elves were still very busy.

Many of the gifts children wanted Santa’s elves didn’t make anymore, but they ordered them from other companies. Nevertheless, Santa’s elves still had tons to do. They had to check all the gifts to make sure they worked. They had to sort the gifts and sometimes they had to choose what gifts they thought would best suit a child, even if it wasn’t what the child had asked for.

With all of this going on, it seemed that there wasn’t any time left for the elves to think about anything other than getting Santa ready for Christmas Eve.

Santa sat in his big office with huge windows that looked out over the hustle and bustle of his elves. He was very busy going over last minute letters and last minute e-mails.

He also sometimes had to help his elves with those hard decisions of what gift would be best. From time to time Santa looked out his windows and smiled.

He loved Christmas. He worked all year just for this one night. As Santa looked up, his smile faded just a bit. One young elf, Justin, didn’t seem to have the excitement of the other elves. He was doing his work, but his eyes weren’t shining and he just seemed troubled. Well, Santa loves his elves so he left his office and went to see Justin.

“Justin, what is wrong? Do you not feel well?” asked a worried Santa.

“Oh, no Santa. I feel fine. I’m sorry I bothered you,” replied Justin. Justin knew Santa needed every minute to be ready for tomorrow night.

Santa smiled. “Justin, you didn’t bother me. I can tell you’re upset. Please come to my office so we can talk.”

Justin quietly put down the box he was packing and followed Santa to his office.

Santa’s office was very big. He had file cabinets with catalogs of toys. He had a large desk with a computer and a printer. He had a large comfy office chair and a large comfy sofa. Santa had painted his office a cheery red with green trim. Santa also had many shelves with some of his favorite toys from years gone by.

Santa sat down in his chair and motioned for Justin to sit on the sofa. “Now, Justin. Tell me what’s troubling you. I can’t help if I don’t know the problem.”

Justin looked up at Santa’s kind face, “Well, Santa I’ve noticed you try to give presents to all children.”

“Yes, go on.”

“Well, most of these kids never thank you. Sometimes they even get angry if they don’t get everything they wanted! Why do you bother? Why do you put so much care into what you choose, when some of the kids are so mean? They don’t give you anything.”

“Ah-ha” thought Santa. Then he asked, “Justin, do you remember why we celebrate Christmas?”

“Yes, it’s to remember the birth of the Christ Child.”

“Why do we give presents?”

Justin looked puzzled and answered, “I’m not sure, Santa.”

This was Santa’s favorite part of Christmas; he loved the opportunities God gave him to explain why Jesus was sent. Santa smiled at Justin and replied, “Justin, we give presents to remind us of the gift God gave to us. You see God gave us his son, Jesus, as a sacrifice to save us from our sins.”

“Okay, but why do you give gifts to kids everywhere? Most of them don’t know that’s why they are getting a gift. Besides that, the kids don‘t bother to thank you.”

“Here is the root of the problem,” thought Santa. He patiently leaned forward in his chair and answered, “Justin, I don’t give gifts so the kids will love me or thank me. I give gifts so the kids will have a reminder of Jesus. God didn’t give Jesus so people would love Him. He gave Jesus because He loved people. Jesus didn’t die for people so people would love Him. Jesus died for people because He loved people and He still loves them. A true gift is given to someone because they are loved. We shouldn’t expect to get something out of it.”

“But don’t people at least need to know why they got a gift?”

“Well, some people who know Jesus share with people who don’t. They tell where Jesus came from, why he was sent and what he did for everyone.”

Justin sat for a minute and thought about what Santa had said. “Okay, but Santa sometimes people give presents to each other and say it’s from you. Why?”

“Justin, by saying it’s from me these people get the best blessing of all. They give a gift just to show love. When someone receives a gift they usually want to know who sent it. When the giver says “Santa” sent it that need is satisfied, but the giver doesn’t receive any credit, just a wonderful blessing. Do you understand, Justin?”

Justin smiled. He thought of all the kids that would wake up Christmas morning and be excited because someone they didn’t really know gave them something just because they were loved.

“Justin, do you know how you can share the blessing I get when I give a child a gift?” Justin shook his head. “Every time you pack a box or get a gift ready, say a prayer for the child that is going to receive that gift. Pray it reminds them of God’s gift to us.”

Justin’s eyes began to shine. Now he was in a hurry to get back to work. He felt excitement at being able to share Santa’s blessing. Now he understood why Santa worked all year long just for this night. Santa smiled as he watched Justin’s face begin to light up.

“Thank you, Santa. I’ve got to get to work. There’s so much to do!” Justin hurried to leave Santa’s office. Just as he got to the door, he paused, “Santa, you know the kids get the gifts, but I think I’d rather have the blessing of giving. It kind of gives you this warm fuzzy feeling inside.”

“Yes, I know the feeling,” replied Santa, “I know the feeling, well.”

Justin hurried out Santa’s office door and back to the workshop. Justin’s eyes were shining with excitement. Santa bowed his head, “Thank you, Jesus for allowing me to share your gift with Justin. Thank you for your gift to me.” As Santa wiped a tear from his eye, he looked heavenward, smiled and whispered, “I do love Christmas.”

In Honor of the Birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

The Blaylock Family

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