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A Christmas Visitor (The Real Meaning of Christmas)
One week before Christmas, a well-known visitor made a surprise appearance…
I had just finished the household chores and was preparing for bed when a noise startled me. I cautiously opened the door to the front room. To my amazement, Santa Claus stepped from behind the Christmas tree! He placed one finger over his mouth so I would not cry out.
“What are you doing here?” I exclaimed. Then I realized that Santa had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. The eager, boisterous soul we all know was very sad. Santa offered one, simple statement, “TEACH THE CHILDREN!” I was puzzled—what did he mean? Anticipating my question, with one quick movement he brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree.
As I stood there bewildered Santa explained, “Teach the Children! Teach them the old meaning of Christmas, the meaning that so many people today have forgotten. Tell them what Christmas is really about!”
Santa then reached into his bag, pulled out a tiny FIR TREE, and placed it on the mantle. “Teach the Children that the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depiction the everlasting hope of mankind, all the needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of our thoughts and prayers turning toward heaven.”
Santa again reached into his sack and pulled out a brilliant STAR. “Teach the Children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises long ago. God promised to send a Savior to deliver the world and the bright star was the sign of fulfillment of His promise.”
Next, Santa pulled a CANDLE from his bag. “Teach the Children that the candle symbolizes that Jesus, God’s Son, is the light of the world and when we see this light we are reminded of He who displaces the darkness.”
Once again Santa reached into his bag and this time he removed a WREATH and placed it on the tree. “Teach the Children that the wreath symbolizes the real nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous round of affection.”
Santa then pulled from his bag an ornament of himself. “Teach the Children that Santa Claus symbolizes the generosity and good will we feel during the month of December. Don’t forget to tell the Children that Saint Nicolas was not part of that first Christmas in Bethlehem.”
Santa then brought out a HOLLY LEAF. “Teach the children that the holly plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by our Savior. The red holly represents the blood shed by Him.”
Santa then reached into his sack and carefully placed a CANDY CANE on the tree. “Teach the Children that the candy cane represents the shepherd’s staff. The crook on the staff helps to bring back the sheep who have strayed from the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother’s Keeper. God never gives up on people who wander from Him.”
He reached in his bag again and removed a delicate ANGEL and lifted it to the very top of the tree. “Teach the Children that it was the angels who proclaimed the glorious news of the Savior’s birth. These heavenly messengers sang ‘Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men!’”
Suddenly I heard a soft tinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled out a BELL. “Teach the Children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring mankind to the fold. The bell symbolizes guidance and return.
Next Santa pulled out a beautifully wrapped GIFT. He said, “Teach the Children that God so loved the world that HE gave His most precious gift— HIS only begotten Son…Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift, Jesus. Teach the children that when the wise men arrived, they bowed before the Holy Child and presented HIM with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We should always give gifts in the same spirit of the wise men. This is why we give gifts to others each Christmas.”
Then Santa looked at the tree and seemed to be pleased. I saw that the twinkle had returned to his eyes. He turned, looked at me, and smiled. Santa offered these final words, “Remember to teach the Children the true meaning of Christmas, and do not put me in the center of Christmas, for I am but a humble servant of the One that is, and I bow down to worship HIM, our LORD and SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST. “—Author Unknown