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REFLECTIONS #24

He didn’t arrive by sleigh. There was no snow on the ground.

He came with reindeer antlers prancing off the front windows on both sides of his car.

His beard was wilting in the unusual winter’s heat. Yet his smile was as wide as a country mile. The jacket was red trimmed in white fur round his collar, from wide sleeve cuffs down to his black shining boots. The buttons were gold each engraved with either Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen – where the names of his reindeers were delicately written.

His clothes were not tarnished with ashes and soot while we walked to the elevator without climbing on the roof. We rose like the sun to the second floor, to enter the radio station door.

He sat in his chair. His eyes how they twinkled. And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself for he was a right jolly old elf. A wink of his eye and a twist of his head as he put on his ear muffs I had nothing to dread.

We began to chat as he relayed his stories. Tales of boys and girls asking for toys to fulfill all their glories. Some pleas were not to promise a child’s pleasures, but to restore their dream of what they truly treasure. A Daddy they love to come home from the war. A family they wish were back once more. A sweet young girl who said she’s been good, but her Daddy was naughty, not nice. The stories rolled off his lips as he recalled the boy he visited as he lay in his hospital bed knowing before he could return again the lad would certainly be dead. He hugged the Mom and tried to console her. His own heart was weeping. I could see it in his eyes. I watched the tears begin dropping down his cheek.

These men who play Santa to spread joy and listen to dreams from innocent voices give of themselves. Their real names may be Tom, Dick and Harry, but I now believe they are true SAINT Nicks delivering a bundle of joy flung from their hearts to all those little ones sitting on their laps.

Their pay isn’t money. It’s a little three year old girl who cuddles close and puts her head on his shoulder. The boy who says “Thank You Santa. Merry Christmas,” and reaches out to plant a hug making Santa shake and laugh like a bowlful of jelly.

Today’s guest has spent a career as a highly respected architect who has helped design schools and hospitals all across the world. For the last 14 years he dons his Santa Claus outfit to visit with youngsters in schools to teach them the true meaning of Christmas. He steps into hospitals to walk close to the ill child to whisper words of encouragement and personally prays for their recovery with reverence. He attends Christmas parties for children and adults to exclaim ere he drives out of sight, “HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.”

May God Bless all you Santa’s that spread joy and love to the young and old.

Why, oh why, can’t each of us when we meet with an obstacle, mount up to the sky, every day, to play Santa Claus?

Earl Littman