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Reflections from Santa

Reflections from Santa

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Reflections from Santa

Dec. 22, 2006    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
800-282-8011     Orlando {0593}

An e-Review Commentary
By J. Charles Cripps**

This image is a work of a U.S. Air Force Airman or employee, made during the course of the person's official duties. Source: Wikipedia. Photo #06-491.

For years I had the opportunity of portraying Santa Claus in our community and have a number of wonderful human interest stories that prove Santa Claus is far more than the commercial bait for which some people give him credit.

There is a side to playing Santa Claus people do not see.

One year the only thing one little boy would tell me he wanted for Christmas was a pair of shoes.

Another year a friend of mine in Amelia Community Theater had a granddaughter who was dying from leukemia. The doctors told the family her death was imminent. He begged me to visit her as Santa. A lady in our theater group dressed up as Mrs. Claus, and together we paid an early visit to the child before Christmas, loving her and trying to minister to her.

If you don’t think that was a tough gig, oh my! We both cried after it was over. But you know, that child lived a full six months after that.

Another year Publix offered carriage rides with Santa in a horse and buggy out over the parking lot. Kids would get in and tell me what they wanted for Christmas and enjoy the carriage ride with Santa.

One little girl got in and started to cry. I asked her what was wrong. It seems her mother had died that year, and the child wanted to be assured her mother could see her from heaven.

I was able to minister to that child while the carriage driver discreetly kept going around and around the parking lot until we were through.

It was a great privilege playing Santa Claus that year and many others.

And there are times people play Santa without donning the red suit and snowy, white beard.

When I was a boy my parents were poor. I didn’t know we were poor because we were so rich in love in my family.

One Christmas I wanted a microscope. That’s what I asked Santa to bring me, but there was no way my folks could afford one, and they fretted about what they were going to do.

Two weeks before Christmas a man in my dad’s crew at his station walked up to him, handed him a microscope and said, “My boy no longer uses this, and I thought your boy might enjoy playing with it.”

Some few years ago my son, Adam, wanted a bicycle for Christmas. That was his request of Santa.

My wife, Diane, and I couldn’t afford a bicycle, but our Sunday school class asked us what we might want as a gift for teaching the class that year. They bought Adam his bicycle.

Now that’s the spirit of Christmas. Santa exists, but he exists in the hearts of loving Christians who give in response to God’s greatest gift to us all—his son.


This article relates to Advent.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Cripps is a member of Memorial United Methodist Church in Fernandina Beach and a retired English teacher and Santa Claus.