It was Christmas Eve and as tradition had it in our family, I got to sleep with my big sister. I think I was seven and Christy 14, and that year I had asked for a baby doll and she a bean bag chair. The orders had been placed, and I was positive Santa would provide. But this year there was even more excitement than normal because I was beginning to question the identity of the man in the red suit.
Maybe it was just my wise second grade brain beginning to see things as they really were or maybe it was realizing that the man dressed as Santa at our elementary school Christmas party had a very familiar wave much like my dad’s.
Whatever it was, it made falling asleep even harder than usual. I could tell by her slow, steady breathing that Christy had drifted off, but my mind would not stop. Though I was doubting his reality, I wanted to believe. Then I heard it. The sound of a shutting door. Santa had come and gone! I could go look under the tree!
As I carefully slid out of the bed and tip-toed down the hallway, I was surprised to see my mom replacing the half eaten cookies and milk Santa had “eaten.” As she stood there in her robe holding the evidence I think it took every bit of restraint she had in her weary body not to yell at me. But what could she do to this precious child a stroke after midnight on Christmas morning?
She sighed and asked me what I was doing out of bed.
“I heard to door shut and came to see what Santa left for us!”
There was no fight in her. No quick thinking. Just surrender.
“Go ahead. Go see what you got.”
Under the tree was a beautiful Madame Alexandria doll for me and a purple bean bag chair for my sister. In desperation to get some sleep, my mom allowed me to take my doll to bed. I was thrilled.
So thrilled that I had to wake my sister. I had to show her my doll and ask her if she liked the color purple because I knew yellow was really her favorite. She obliged, felt of my doll’s head, ask if it were bald much to my enjoyment (the hair was painted on) and then turned over only to fall back to sleep in seconds.
I’m not sure how long I laid awake with my new doll and a mind trying to figure everything out. But the verdict was starting to become clear. Santa wasn’t from the North Pole or my dad.
Santa was my mom!
Years later when I had my own children I struggled with this Christmas tradition. I wanted my kids to experience the excitement of waking up and finding gifts that seemed to magically appear under the tree, yet I did not want Santa to be the star of Christmas.
I’m still conflicted and convicted, but I know that despite the role Santa played in my childhood and the tiny role he had in my children’s lives, my mom and I taught our families that we gave and received gifts only because of the best gift ever given.
We would not have this holiday and Santa Clause if we did not have the Christian celebration of the birth of God’s Son. Jesus Christ.
Jeshua (the Lord Saves) Meshiac (anointed one).
His name says it all.
Gabriel said….Mary, you are to give your son the name Jesus. (Luke 1:31)