The whole Santa thing started before I could walk or talk. My parents felt that a little storybook make-believe at Christmas just made the season even more special.
It didn’t take long for my young self to get acquainted with the big jolly guy in the red suit. You won't find any pictures of me crying on his lap. I must have connected the dots that this guy made things go well on Christmas morning.
Santa and I seemed to develop a friendly rapport. It didn’t matter that there was a dreadfully long line to see him every year. I could whisper my wishes with confidence and he’d ALWAYS remember.
The specialness lasted but a few years and then like all good storybooks, the ending comes. When I asked my parents, they gave me the honest truth about Santa and his magic elves.
While the magic had been fun for my childhood fantasies, something quickly replaced it that was far better.
I learned what the gift of Jesus meant. Rather than a make-believe Santa who kept track of my naughty days, I had Jesus who forgave them all.
And for an exuberant child who seemed to go full steam ahead into the consequences of quick decisions, forgiveness was a real gift.
As I grew up, the lessons learned often involved even more forgiveness. Good thing the supply of forgiveness never runs out for those who ask. That I learned, is God’s mercy and grace.
I had one more interaction with Santa when I was a young mom. He was more handsome than I remembered, super friendly, and loved kids. I watched him as he delighted a new generation of young, expectant hearts. I fell in love with Santa all over again. Oh, I should explain, my amazing husband dressed up as Santa for a season.
Santa is a pretty harmless childhood fantasy. Even though I was once a Santa believer, it only made me slightly more prone to enjoy fanciful stories with happy endings.
Yet, the real happy ending is Jesus.
He is the One I celebrate at Christmas. Over my lifetime I’ve seen the gifts Jesus has brought. All of them undeserved. But where would I be without His gifts of peace, hope, love, grace, and true joy? Nowhere close to where I am now.
Merry Christmas, my friends.