Santa was as big as any event could be to Sam. The experience of Santa visiting him personally and leaving gifts once a year – it just couldn’t be compared to anything! It was truly amazing that Santa managed to get him most of the things he really wanted. He was forgiving for the few things he didn’t get understanding that Santa had a task bigger than life itself.
Suddenly, Christmas was slightly confusing and created some anxiety in Sam’s heart. His dad had just told him a truth he never wanted to hear. Finding out that Santa wasn’t real created a hole in his heart. Add that to some confused thoughts about the purpose and meaning of Christmas and it left Sam with some apprehension as to whether he even looked forward to it this year.
Christmas Eve would soon arrive as would a number of Sam’s relatives. It was a large group of people and a festive time. They’d eat and talk. They’d sing and talk more. They’d tell stories and laugh and talk louder. It seemed like the present opening time would never come. All his brothers, sisters, and cousins were always on pins and needles waiting for the time to open presents. Sam was the same – anxious to see what he would get. But Sam also knew there was something almost sinister that would happen inside and it confused him. It happened the last two years. It would come about the time he was opening his second-to-last present. He knew that all the anticipation of Christmas, all the build up, the tree decorating, the parties at school and church, the performing and singing in the local shopping mall with his class, helping dad hang Christmas lights on the house, all the shopping, and wrapping and more – it was all about to be over. He’d open these last two presents and it would be over. He would soon feel that ache of disappointment he dreaded. It made him feel like he was unthankful and selfish. His second to last present was the same one he got every year from his grandparents. Five brand new crisp dollars that looked like they were just made at a factory. And then the final present that was overshadowed no matter how good it was by the mere fact that it was the last one. He’d open his presents and although he was happy, he’d experience the feeling – “Is that all there is?” Christmas never seemed to live up to all that it was built up to be. He’d feel disappointed and then felt guilty about feeling that way.
He decided this year was going to be different. Sam was determined. He was assured by his father that they would not one day come to him and tell him Jesus wasn’t real either. “Jesus is the Son of God and He really was born in a manager and the angels really did come and sing and proclaim His coming to the shepherds,” his father said. Santa is just a fun story but Jesus is real!
Sam was only eight but a bright eight year old. It was three weeks before Christmas and he didn’t want any more bad feelings or disappointments at Christmas time. As he went to bed one night he got on his knees and prayed, “Dear Jesus, thank you for being real. I know you are because my dad promised me you were. Christmas is about you but I think I spent more time thinking about Santa and about what I’d get than I did about you. It’s your birthday. I want to think about you. Please show me how and help me to make this the best Christmas ever.” It was a simple prayer but one God would answer for Sam.
The next morning at church, Sam seemed to hear more words from the Pastor’s sermon than he could ever remember hearing before. He heard the Pastor read the words “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” He didn’t understand everything the Pastor was saying but he did hear the Pastor say that Jesus brought us a true peace in our hearts that couldn’t come from any other source. Sam had remembered his prayer the night before. That was what he wanted. Peace not disappointment.
Then the Pastor spoke the words “God so loved the world that He gave – He gave – He gave us Jesus – that is what Christmas is about, giving joy to others as Jesus brings new life and joy to us!” Sam caught those words. In his own way with his eight years of life and understanding, he caught those words. “Christmas is about giving…” “No wonder I’ve been disappointed,” Sam thought. “The only thing I’ve thought about is getting.” As the Pastor finished his message, he received that morning’s offering. He said something else Sam paid attention to. Pastor had read from Matthew 2:11 “And when they came into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” “I’ve never brought Jesus a gift for Christmas,” Sam thought. He knew just what he would do.
The following day he noticed his mother was unusually happy. She was going out. “Where are you going mom?” “Your father gave me a special gift certificate to be pampered in a special women’s salon where they will do my nails and give me a massage. I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time.” “What’s a massage mom?” Sam asked. “Oh you know, like when your father gives me a neck rub while we are watching television.” Sam smiled big. He had an idea!
When Christmas Eve came Sam was happier than he’d ever been. He wasn’t thinking only about opening presents that night. He was more excited for His Dad and Mom to open his presents. When his dad opened Sam’s gift, it was a coupon that Sam made that said, “Two fifteen minute hot ziggaties any time you want.” His dad lit up like a Christmas tree. A hot ziggity was a head scratch which his dad loved more than anything. Then his mom opened her present. It was a coupon that said, “two fifteen minute neck rubs any time you want.” His mother swept him up and gave him a big kiss. “You said you love massages so I’ll give you two of them!” She was thrilled. Sam was excited. “Mom are we going to that special candlelight service tonight?” “Why yes honey, why do you ask?” “Because I have a special present for Jesus tonight that I want to give Him for His birthday.” Sam had the box all made. All it needed was the five brand new dollars he knew he’d get from Grandpa and Grandma and sure enough, he did.
At church that night when the offering came by, Sam put a little box he wrapped himself in the basket. It was the best Christmas ever – no disappointments and great peace! God had answered his prayer and shown him the real meaning of Christmas!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2007 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.