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Little Sarah cried and cried. Her eyes were red as apples and almost swollen shut. Why!? Why!? Why did her mean ol’ ‘used to be’ friend, Brenda, have to tell her that there was no Santa? Sarah pounded the pillow, twisted her face back and forth in it to wipe her tears, and then rested on one side of her face, and continued to sob. Her heart was throbbing and her breathing was out of control, this was the first time that Sarah experienced heartbreak, she was devastated.

Janey, Sarah’s mom, was in the kitchen and thought she heard crying, but thought it must be the neighborhood kids outside. After a while, however, she could still faintly hear it and now it sounded like it was coming from Sarah’s room, so she stopped what she was doing and rushed up to her little girl’s bedroom to see what was going on. There was her baby girl, obviously panic-stricken, but why? What had happened to her little girl? “Sarah!” she exclaimed, “what’s wrong, why are you crying?” Sarah could hardly get the words out…”Th..th..th..th-th-e-r-e-s nooooooo San…san…san…ta!”

So many thoughts, hundreds, went through Sarah’s little mind in a split second, and even more in the one that followed. She knew that Santa had heard her silent talks to him the other years, and that he had listened. And how about the letters she had sent in the mail to him? Surely he had read every single one of them! She had even looked him in the eye while she sat on his lap in the mall – what had it all been, if Santa was not real? Why was she lied to? And why did Brenda ruin it all for her? It just broke her heart to think it was one big made up story. It also meant that there would be nothing in the future to look forward to. No Santa Claus to count on, or even the hopes of one Christmas eve actually catching him come down the chimney or hearing RUDOLPH on the roof with his shiny nose blinking and making a funny sound, just as it did on “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.” Janey sat down on the bed and tried to comfort her little girl, doing her best to pick her up and hold her in her arms. Once Janey was able to get a good hold of Sarah, pulling her up onto her lap and tightly embracing her, she rocked her little girl back and forth, humming a sweet little tune, and whispered gently into her ear… “But THERE IS A SANTA honey, THERE IS!” Sarah, quite despondent, not fully gathering what her mother had whispered to her, fell asleep in her mother’s arms, as her heart was ladened with sorrow.

The next morning Sarah awoke to Christmas carols playing in the house, and the smell of pancakes cooking on the stove! Sarah could smell her favorite banana and apple pancakes a mile away!  Sarah was surprisingly hungry after a night of such agony. It all seemed like a distant memory, almost like a bad dream, but she still remembered the ‘news’ that Brenda had delivered to her. She put on her house coat and went downstairs to see her mom and have breakfast.

“Sarah! Guess what I’m making for you? Your favorite…banana and apple pancakes.” Sarah played along and acted surprised. “MOM…you’re the best! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” At the breakfast table, it was just Sarah and her mom. See, this WAS their family. Sarah’s dad had walked out on the family when Sarah was just a little newborn baby, 8 years ago last month, and Janey was left to raise her child alone. Of course Janey had help from ‘her’ mom and the rest of her family, but day-to-day it was Sarah and Janey. They were the dynamic duo! “Sweetie,” Janey lovingly called out to Sarah, “wanna go get a Christmas tree this afternoon? I hear it’s going to start snowing soon, so we can get the sleigh out of the garage and pull it down to the shopping center to get the prettiest tree there is.” “Yes mommy, and maybe while we’re walking I can tell you something about what Brenda told me yesterday.” “Of course you can. I can’t wait! Let’s clean up with breakfast, do some things around the house and we’ll get ready to go get our tree!”

Around 3 in the afternoon the snow was coming down pretty heavily. The flakes were BIG…like little polar bears falling from the sky. As a matter of fact, Janey and Sarah looked like polar bears too! They were bundled up in their winter coats with their fuzzy hats and scarfs! It was enough to make an Eskimo warm! Sarah, pulling the sleigh behind her – which happened to be her favorite thing to do each year when going to get a Christmas tree, softly began to ask, “mom…,” then she stopped and cleared her throat as a tiny tear began to puddle in her eye; she continued on, “did you know there’s not really a Santa Claus? Brenda told me he wasn’t real, and that it’s just a big lie.”

Janey put her arm around Sarah and replied, “Well, I feel sorry for Brenda because Santa only delivers gifts to those who believe in him. See Sarah, Christmas is about baby Jesus, right?” “Right!” Sarah said quite emotionally, wondering where her mom was going with this. She secretly was hoping her mom would prove Brenda to be wrong. “Santa Claus is symbolic of Jesus, it’s not that Santa isn’t real. Whenever it is that we are in need, or even simply want something, we to pray to Jesus. But like Santa Claus, Jesus doesn’t want to hear from us only when we are in need, he wants us to share everything with him. He wants us to love him and believe in him all year around, so that the spirit of Christmas lives in our hearts always. God our Father sent us baby Jesus, he is our savior.”

Sarah, being the big “little girl” that she was, seemed to ‘GET’ it, and shook her head in agreement, looked up at her mom and smiled, “Thanks mommy…I’m glad God sent us baby Jesus, I love him and he knows it, because we say our prayers every night. Since you and I love Jesus, and Christmas lives in our hearts, then Santa is real for us. Jesus is Santa and Santa is Jesus.” Janey left it at that, as a warm tingle was felt throughout her body.

That night, they lit the tree, and nestled up on the couch to watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas, as they do every year at this time. Their favorite part is Linus’ reply to Charlie Brown’s question: Does anyone know the true meaning of Christmas?

 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  LUKE 2:8-14

The End.