Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The True Spirit of Christmas

If you haven't taken your children to see Santa Claus yet, there's still time! In spite of economic downturns, job losses and a host of other challenges in our world today, Santa is still the beacon that all is right in the world at Christmas time.

When I was a child, I couldn't understand why we'd see Santa at so many places. My little mind thought that Santa was able to jump from department store to department store, and that he did it just in time for me to see him there. It wasn't until later that my mother, in her hopes of extending my make-believe world, told me that Santa has "helpers" to help him talk with all the kids because he was busy making the toys at the North Pole.

Sometimes today, I wonder if I know the "real" Santa. If not, he's mighty close. Last year, I met Santa Dick at Green Hills Mall working a seasonal job at the mall, and there we became friends.

Over the last year, I've had the opportunity to get to know Santa Dick. He epitomizes what Christmas is all about. Adults and children alike love this wonderful Santa because he genuinely cares about the children (and, yes, adults) that he meets.

Santa Dick recently told me about a little girl he met who understood the real meaning of Christmas. "I just want some balloons for Christmas," she answered when Santa Dick asked her what she wanted. When asked why she just wanted balloons, she told Santa Dick, "So other children who don't have toys can have my toys." Needless to say, by the end of that story, I choked up. That little girl, at her young age, understands Christmas!

How many of us really understand the true meaning of Christmas? I wonder how our economic recession has affected what we give this year. Maybe it's not as much or as expensive as we've given in the past. And that's good. It's time for us to slow down and just love and care about each other.

Do you know what the first gift of Christmas was? It was a baby, lying in a manger, who was born to take away the sins of the world. That unconditional gift is for every single person who ever lived before then, during that time, and since that time. It's for you and for me. Santa Dick would echo these same sentiments.

There's time to go see Santa ... and there's time for us to understand the real meaning of Christmas.

Merry, merry Christmas to all of you! May you be exceptionally blessed this Christmas.

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