By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet
At Christmas time, the year that my eldest daughter was seven years old, we read the story of the “Northern Express” about a boy who goes to the North Pole on a train in the middle of the night. The boy in this story does not believe in Santa Clause anymore, and so he's unable to hear the bells on Santa’s sleigh. At the end of the story the boy believes in Santa Clause again, and thus can hear the magic ringing of the sleigh bell he received as a fulfillment of his greatest Christmas wish.
After hearing the story, my daughter made a similar wish. The only thing she really wanted for Christmas was a bell from Santa’s Sleigh. She had not written this wish in a letter to Santa or shared this hope with mommy or daddy. On Christmas morning my daughter found no such gift from Santa and she began to cry. When asked why she was so sad, she explained that she didn't get the only thing that she'd really wanted, a bell from Santa’s sleigh. I have told the children all their lives that Santa is real because there are many Santa Clauses and that they can be Santa too. Santa Clause is anyone who gives gifts to children anonymously. While my daughter was crying, I quickly went into the kitchen and grabbed a small sheet of tin foil and then went and got two jingle bells that I used for a visual aid in doing church work. I hastily wrapped the bells in the tinfoil and set it on one of the branches of the Christmas tree. I then asked by daughter to come back to the tree and look more carefully and make sure that she had not missed anything.
We looked for some time and then at last she saw the tinfoil package. She said, “But it does not have my name on it.” “Santa must have been very busy and just had to wrap it this way for you,” I offered. She opened the package, and there was the gift that she had most wanted. Her eyes dried immediately and she was very happy. She has had those bells hanging above her bed, ever since that Christmas day. Some day I may need to explain that there is no Santa Clause, who lives at the North Pole and flies around the world visiting every home, in one night. However, I also want to explain that parents want to see the dreams of their children come true. We want to see our children happy. Connected with our efforts to help our children be happy, is the act of deceiving them into believing in Santa Clause. This is the only way that we can be “Santa Clause” for them.
When your children look up into your eyes in complete innocence and love, you realize the sacred trust that has been given to you from God. We can become the kind of people that we are capable of becoming, in part, due to the desire to be a good example to our children, nieces, and nephews.
The difference between God and Santa Clause is very clear. In the case of Santa Clause there is inevitable disappointment. With God, there is never an accurate reason for loosing confidence in him. God exists, he created the earth in six days (this amazing gift for all of his children - whether wicked or righteous), and through the power of the Holy Ghost he can touch the heart of each person on the earth at the very same time. We can be completely honest with our children about the existence of God. In fact, helping our children, as much as possible, to believe in God and follow his commandments, is the way that we can be the kind of parents God wants us to be.
My greatest Christmas wish is that my daughter will receive many wonderful gifts from God through his spirit. Hearing the voice of the Spirit comes only to those who first believe. These gifts make up the musical harmony of a happy life. The joy received from the gifts of the spirit, is far more wonderful than the joy received from any gift that Santa can deliver.
I believe that my daughter is on the path to happiness and peace. One year before the "bell experience" she had a different experience, which I wrote about in the following poem:
By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet
The winter sun goes early to bed
As Christmas lights shine warm and bright
All passing eyes with the lights are led
To the manger scene a wondrous sight
My daughter was out in the evening air
In the quiet coolness of the winter snow
She went and got herself a chair
And sat before the mangers glow
She sat a long time with reverence resounding
and quietly looked at the little Christ Child
Love and joy in my heart was full and abounding
To see her sitting out there so meek and so mild
I saw her through the window and when she had returned
I asked what she was thinking to see what she had learned
My six-year-old daughter's response was thus...
"I was thinking about how he died for us."
Yes, when we see a manger scene let's try to do the same
To think about Lord Jesus and praise his holy name.
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