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The Real Meaning of Christmas

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 feeling 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 Claus 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. ...and 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 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 well."  


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 gift."  

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  who was born 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. This is what is symbolized when the twinkly 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  the Good Shepherd 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 scourging 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 again 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?"


This story was in an email message that was sent to me by my sister-in-law.  If anyone knows the author - please let me know so that he/she can be duly credited!!!




Happy Holidays from Spike & Jamie


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