Santa letters and the real joy of Christmas

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, December 22, 2021

I hope you’ll take the time to read some, if not all, of the letters to Santa in the Dec. 22 edition of The Daily Leader.

The letters come from children of various ages, across Lincoln and Lawrence counties, through schools, grandparents or other helpful “elves.”

Some children ask for the typical things — new video games and accessories, dolls and accessories, toys with wheels and accessories, and so on. Some asked for books, clothes and live animals.

A few daring ones asked for cash — $100, $1,000 or even $1 million. Hey — shoot for the moon, right?

Some specifically mentioned their brothers or sisters and asked St. Nick not to forget them.

A few asked forgiveness or mercy for not being as well-behaved as they should have been throughout the year.

At least one asked just that her family could have a good time over the holiday break.

And there were those that break my heart and bring tears to my eyes — such as the children who asked Santa to please bring their mothers or fathers back home.

My hope and prayer is that a miracle would be given to such children, or that at the very least they are able to enjoy their Christmas regardless.

Of course, children need to learn at some age about loss and sorrow. These things come with life and it would be disingenuous for adults to pretend for children that life never brings sadness or disappointments.

But children need hope and happiness, too! They need to know that God does exist, that he does hear prayer, and that he does love the people he created.

Santa is not God, and God is not Santa. But if we can imagine a Santa Claus that brings good gifts to good children (and maybe coal to disobedient children), surely we can believe in the God that gives good things to his children.

The rain falls on the just and the unjust. Food grows for us all. And conversely, none of us are spared illness or tough days.

But we are all blessed in some way. If you have more than one of anything then you are blessed! Don’t think otherwise. Use your blessings to be a blessing to others.

If you can buy a gift for someone who might otherwise not receive anything this Christmas, why not do it? If you can cook a meal for someone who could use one, why not do it? If you can spend a little time with someone who is lonely or needs encouragement, why not do it?

When you are a blessing to someone else, you become blessed yourself. What you’ll get in return is the knowledge and comfort that you’ve given help and hope to someone else.

The essence of Christmas is not whatever pagan practices were incorporated into a Christian holiday — is it really wrong to take something that was not intended to praise God and use it for that purpose? I don’t think so.

The true meaning of Christmas is not feeling good, or drinking hot cocoa or sitting by a fire or any of those nice things.

The meaning of Christmas is not even in being a help and hope to others. But it is found in the best reason to be those things — the birth of a child in Bethlehem a couple thousand years ago.

The Son of God was born as a human in order to demonstrate God’s love for us — in life, death and resurrection. Anything that omits Christ from Christmas has missed the mark entirely.

As you peruse the letters to Santa, I hope you’re reminded of the joy of giving and the joy we receive when we accept God’s greatest gift to us — His Son.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.