The Real Giver

“Guess what! Santa's going to bring me something I really want for Christmas.” Karen's excitement skittered through her words as he told her friend, Christine, after coming home from the children's holiday party in the park. “He knew I wanted to have a pair of rollerskates. Now, I don't have to borrow from you. We could go rollerskating together.”

“But.. Santa isn't real,” Christine replied. “He's just a man wearing a red suit.”

“But he promised, I know he will,” Karen insisted.

Two weeks before Christmas, Karen saw a nicely wrapped box lying underneath the Christmas tree in their home. She can't possibly be wrong. It was for her.

“Santa did keep his promise,” she eagerly told Christine.

“Come on, I'll show you.”

“But Santa is not real,” her friend argued. “My mom told me he only promises those things that he thinks the mothers and fathers might get for their children.”

“But I talked to him myself. He promised me.” Karen was not about to give up.

On Christmas day, she was ready to open her gift. She wanted to prove to her friend that she was right. Hurriedly, Karen tore the wrapper off, and inside she found exactly the new pair of rollerskates she had wanted. Her eyes opened wide as she also saw there a helmet with matching sets of protective gears for her arms and legs.

“Oh, cool!” she exclaimed. “See, I told you Santa would keep his promise!”

Listening to the girls, Mother couldn't wait to explain. She shook her head and smiled, “No, my dear,” she said,

“Daddy and I bought them for you. We knew you wanted them for Christmas and we thought you do need those gears to protect you when you fall.”

“But how about Santa Claus?” Karen's face squirmed a bit. “He promised to bring me what I want if I'll be nice and good and I believe him. Isn't he real?”

“Well,” Mother said, “the Santa you see on Christmas day is just any person who is dressed and acts like the real Santa Claus. The story goes back to the year 300 with a man named Nicholas who was a son of a wealthy Christian. When his parents died, he decided to give everything he had to the poor. Stories about the good and kind things he did became known everywhere. Many legends were told about him. In fact, people made him a saint when he died. And so December 6th, the day of his death, became St. Nicholas' Day.”

The two friends eagerly listened as Mother continued her story. “In those times, sailors chose St. Nicholas as their special saint. They carried his name to many seaport cities, including our city, Amsterdam. That's how it got here. Then our people built several St. Nicholas churches around and celebrated the event nationwide in Holland. Most Dutch children called him Sinterklaas or Sante Klaas, a man dressed in a long, red bishop's robe wearing a red-and-gold miter on his head, and had a flowing white beard. They used to believe he had come to Amsterdam on a ship from Spain who rode his horse across the rooftops, stopping to listen at chimneys to hear if the children are good or bad. Soon the idea of the fat, jolly Father Christmas of the English blended with the legend of Sinterklaas, later known as Santa Claus who lives at the North Pole and drives a team of reindeer, bringing toys for the good children. Santa is still sometimes called St. Nicholas and remains a big part of the Christmas-giving tradition everywhere.

“But Christmas is really all about Jesus. He is the Giver of all good things,” Mother declared.

“Why does Santa make children happy even if he's just a pretend?” asked Karen.

“Well, it's because it's easy for small children to believe in Santa Claus, especially when they get the gifts they ask for,” replied Mother.

“Could I ask Jesus to give me what I want?” Karen asked.

“It's easy for us to treat God like Santa Claus when we use our prayers only to ask Him to give us things we want. God does want us to have good gifts but being His child means more than just giving Him a selfish list of things we want. Now, can you think of some of the good things that God gives?” Mother asked.

“Yeah,” Christine answered quickly. He gave me my dad and mom. I always knew they're the real Santa Claus.”

“Of course, oftentimes, parents know what their children want. But God knows more than parents do. He blessed your dads and moms so you can have the things you want and He is looking after our needs all the time,” Mother said.

Joy sparkled in Karen's eyes as she put on her gears and skates. This time she was just as sure as Christine was.

“Thanks, Mom,” she mumbled as she stood to peck Mother's cheek. Carefully, she tried skating slowly through the hallway, and out into the garage, and along the smoothly paved and safe pathway beside the road.

Arts | Fiction | Short Stories

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