Just the other day, two very good friends of mine pulled into the driveway and excitedly ran into the house to tell me about an experience they had just had while Christmas shopping. The story they told brought tears to my eyes as I realized that the true spirit of Christmas – God’s eternal goodness – can be seen even in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Let me tell you their story.
A little girl who was probably three years old was shopping with her mother. As she looked across the aisle, she screeched in glee as she noticed an elderly white-haired man wearing a bright red lumber jacket shopping right next to them.
Her mother frantically tried to subdue her, but it was no use. She exclaimed in delight, “Mommy, see over there. Why, that’s Santa. He’s shopping too!”
By this time, the old codger had caught on. Before the little girl could notice the twinkle in his eye as he winked at her mother, the elderly man walked over and greeted her. “Hello little girl, I’m Santa. What’s your name?”
The mother encouraged her precious daughter, “Tell Santa your name.”
Surprisingly, it was no use. Suddenly, the little girl grew shy, even though she was grinning from ear-to-ear. The mother told Santa, “Her name is Claudia.”
Then it was his turn. “Claudia, I’m down here this morning before Christmas because some of my elves are sick with bad colds. They are snorting and sneezing all over the place. Rudolph and I flew down here just a few minutes ago. We landed on the roof of this store so nobody would see us. It’s quite cloudy here in your city today, so nobody noticed us flying through the air.
“Now that I’m down here, Claudia, what do you really want for Christmas?”
Again, Claudia grew shy and brushed up against her mother, holding on to her leg. By this time, her mother was picking up on her daughter’s shyness. Her mother whispered, “Claudia, darling, do you mind if I tell Santa what you’d really like for Christmas?”
The little girl grinned and looked up, staring at her mommy with twinkling big brown eyes.
It was all over practically before it started. Santa leaned down and gave her a big hug. “Could your mommy take a photo of the two of us standing together with my arms around you?”
Claudia just beamed! She would never forget this priceless moment with her photo being taken with Santa Claus hugging her.
Before they could walk away, Santa quietly said to the mother, “Take your time checking out of the store. I’ll be right back.”
It wasn’t more than a few minutes before Santa returned. Apparently, he had quickly found Claudia’s Christmas gift and had already paid for it.
“Claudia,” he began. “Rudolph is really going to be weighed down with all the presents this year, so I already have your gift and I’m giving it to you before Christmas. Can you have your mother quietly put it underneath your Christmas tree so no one else knows? When you open it, I know you are going to be thrilled. Then your mother can surprise everyone by showing them the picture we took together.”
And with that, Santa walked away, leaving a tearful mother and a wide-eyed little girl with a memory they would cherish for the rest of their lives.
As you celebrate Jesus’ birthday this year, may you always remember that His coming was God’s supreme act of kindness, His ultimate gift to you. May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas.