Late one Christmas Eve I sank back, tired but content, into my easy
chair. The kids were in bed, the gifts were wrapped, the milk and
cookies waited by the fireplace for Santa.
As I sat back admiring the tree with its decorations, I couldn't help
but feel that something was missing. It wasn't long before the tiny
twinkling tree lights lulled me to sleep. I don't know how long I slept,
but all of a sudden I knew that I wasn't alone. I opened my eyes and you
can imagine my surprise when I saw Santa Clause himself standing next to
my Christmas tree.
He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot just as the poem
described him. But he was not the "jolly old elf" of Christmas legend.
The man who stood before me looked sad and disappointed. And there were
tears in his eyes.
"Santa, what's wrong?" I asked. "Why are you crying?" "It's the
children," Santa replied sadly. "But the children love you," I said.
"Oh, I know they love me and the gifts I bring them," Santa said. "But
the children of today seem to have somehow missed out on the true spirit
of Christmas. It's not their fault. It's just that the adults, many of
them not having been taught
themselves have forgotten to teach the children."
"Teach them what?" I asked. Santa's kind old face became soft, more
gentle, his eyes began to shine with something more than tears.
He spoke softly. "Teach the children the true meaning of Christmas.
Teach them that the part of Christmas that we can see, hear and touch is
much more than meets the eye. Teach them the symbolism behind the
customs and traditions of Christmas we now observe. Teach them what it
is they truly represent."
Santa reached into his bag and pulled out a tiny Christmas tree and set
it on my mantle. "Teach them about the Christmas tree. Green is the
second color of Christmas. The stately evergreen with its unchanging
color represents the hope of eternal life in Jesus. It's needles point
heavenward as a reminder that man's thoughts should turn heavenward as
Santa reached into his bag again and pulled out a shiny star and placed
it at the top of the small tree. "The star was the heavenly sign of
promise. God promised a Savior for the world and the star was the sign
of the fulfillment of that promise of the night that Jesus Christ was
born. Teach the children that God always fulfills His promises and that
wise men still seek Him."
"Red," said Santa, "is the first color of Christmas." He pulled forth a
red ornament for the tiny tree. "Red is deep, intense, vivid. It is the
color of the life giving blood that flows through our veins. It is the
symbol of God's greatest gift. Teach the children that Christ gave His
life and shed His blood for them that they might have eternal life. When
they see the color red it should remind them of that most wonderful
Santa found a bell in his pack and placed it on the tree. "Just as lost
sheep are guided to safety by the sound of the bell, it continues to
ring today for all to be guided to the fold. Teach the children to
follow the true Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep."
Santa placed a candle on the mantle and lit it. The soft glow from its
one tiny flame brightened the room. "The glow of the candle represents
how man can show his thanks for the gift of God's Son that Christmas Eve
long ago. Teach the children to follow in Christ's footsteps. To go
about doing good. Teach them to let their lights shine before men that
all may see it and glorify God. That is what is symbolized when the
twinkle lights shine on the tree like hundreds of bright, shining
candles, each of them representing one of God's precious children, their
light shining for all to see."
Again, Santa reached into his bag and this time he brought forth a tiny
red and white striped candy cane. As he hung it on the tree, he spoke
softly, "The candy cane is a stick of hard, white candy. White to
symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus and the shape 'J'
to represent the precious name of Jesus who came to earth as our Savior.
It also represents the crook of the Good Shepherd which He uses to reach
down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who,
like sheep, have gone astray. The original candy cane had three small
red stripes which are the stripes of the scouring Jesus received by
which we are healed, and a large red stripe that represents the shed
blood of Jesus so that we can have eternal life. Teach these things
to the children."
Santa brought out a beautiful wreath made of fresh fragrant greenery and
tied with a bright red bow. "The bow reminds us of the bond of
perfection which is love. The wreath embodies all the good things about
Christmas for those with eyes to see and hearts to understand. It
contains the colors of red and green and the heaven turned needles of
the evergreen. The bow tells the story of good will towards all and its
color reminds us of Christ's sacrifice. Even its very shape is symbolic,
representing eternity and the eternal nature of Christ's love. It is a
circle without beginning and without end. These are the things you must
teach the children."
"But where does that leave you Santa?" I asked. The tears gone now from
his eyes, a smile broke over Santa's face. "Why, bless you my dear," he
laughed. "I'm only a symbol myself. I represent the spirit of family fun
and the joy of giving and receiving. If the children are taught these
other things, there is no danger that I'll ever be forgotten."
"I think I'm beginning to understand at last," I replied. "That's why I
came," said Santa. "You're an adult. If you don't teach the children
these things, then who will?"