TEACH THE CHILDREN
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 important 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.
man who stood before me looked sad and disappointed. And there were tears in his
"Santa, what's wrong?" I asked, "Why are you crying?"
"It's the children,"
Santa replied sadly. "But Santa, the children love you," I said.
"Oh, I know
they love me, and they love the gifts I bring them," Santa said, "but
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."
them what?" I asked. Santa's kind old face became soft, more gentle.
eyes began to shine with something more than tears. He spoke softly.
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 which 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
"Teach them about the Christmas tree. Green is the second color of
Christmas. The stately evergreen, with its unchanging color, represents
hope of eternal life in Jesus. Its needles point heavenward as a reminder
that mankind'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 on 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 silver 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
can show their 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 light shine before people that all may see it and
glorify God. This is what's symbolized when the twinkle lights shine on the
tree like hundreds of bright shining lights, each of them representing one of
God's precious children's light shining for all to see."
Again Santa reached into his bag and this time he brought forth a tiny red
and white striped cane. As he hung it on the tree he spoke softly. "The
cane is a stick of hard white candy. White to symbolize the virgin birth and
sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation
of the church, and the firmness of God's promises. The candy cane form's a
"J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth. It
represents the Good Shepherd's crook,
which He uses to reach down into all ditches of the world to lift out the
fallen lambs who, like all 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 the promise of eternal life.
Teach these things to the children."
Santa brought out a beautiful wreath made of fresh, fragrant greenery 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."
I asked, "But where does that leave you Santa?"
The tears gone now from his eyes, a smile broke over Santa's face.
bless you, my dear," he laughed, "I'm only a symbol myself. I
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."
"That's why I came," said Santa. "You're an adult. If you don't
children these things, then who will?"
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