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
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 Santa, the children love you," I said. "Oh, I
know they love me, and they love the gifts I bring them,"
Santa said, "but the 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. 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 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 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. 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
"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 people 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 candy 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 forms a "J" to
represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth. It also
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."
"But where does that leave you Santa?" 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'm beginning to understand."
"That's why I came," said Santa. "You're an adult.
If you don't teach the children these things, then who