The Truth about Giving

“I don’t want to ruin the fun,” he said. “But I have questions.”

I picked Atticus up at school today. As we were walking to the car, he told me that a classmate said that Santa isn’t real. I asked him what he thought. He didn’t answer. We continued to walk toward the car on this intensely sunny, but frigid day.IMG_0063a

My mind drifted back to many of the fun, and often magical, Christmas memories we’ve shared together…  That December when he decided he wanted to visit as many Santa’s as possible. We found St. Nick in some unsuspecting places. The year we met two Santa’s at the exact same location at the exact same time – that was the year Atticus discovered that Santa has a lot of “helpers.” The time Atticus insisted he had to dress as Rudolph to meet with Santa. And each year when my sweet child timidly approached the man in red to quietly share his hopes and desires for Christmas morning.IMG_0456 20121202a

It seems as though Atticus has always known that I’m the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy. I never hid it well. When asked, I answered, “Yes, I am.” It didn’t seem important to me to keep up the charade – but Christmas was different. Santa was different. When he was younger he asked about Santa, and my reply was, “The spirit of Santa is real and will live forever.” He was happy with the answer and never asked again.

I suppose I enjoyed the wonder that sparkled in his eyes at Christmas time, and I didn’t want it to end. I savored the innocent belief of a child who trusted that a benevolent man magically delivered presents on the day we celebrate the greatest gift of all.

“I don’t want to ruin the fun,” he said. “But I have questions.”

As we buckled our seat belts, I asked him for his questions. “Is Santa real?” He asked.2011c

I didn’t want to answer. I replied, as I did a few years ago, “The spirit of Santa is real.”

“But is Santa real?” He asked again.

“Are you sure you want me to answer?”

“Yes,” he said.

I replied with the truth he was aching to hear. “I’m Santa.”

With disbelief in his eyes, and a forced smile on his face, he gently asked, “You’re Santa? 20121214aThere isn’t a Santa?”

“No.”

“There isn’t a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?”

“No.”

“No Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, or Vixen?”

“No.”

He continued to smile. “You go shopping by yourself and buy presents?”

“Yes.”

After a few minutes, the thought that I was truly Santa began to sink in, and he realized that he had no hope of receiving the Xbox that he has longed for the last few years, or a six pack of Coca Cola which is his most recent obsession and desire. He hung his head in defeat. I couldn’t help but chuckle.

I brought the conversation back to the spirit of Santa. I asked him what the spirit of Santa meant. He replied that it means “giving to others,” which naturally led to a discussion about the child who was born to give His life for us all.

I was reminded that it doesn’t matter if Atticus thinks Santa is real, or if he knows that the three presents under the tree each Christmas morning was paid for and wrapped by his mommy. He clearly understands the reason we celebrate this time of year. He knows the spirit of giving stems from the man who hung on a cross more than two thousand years ago – and that spirit is real – and will live forever.

Isaiah 9:6  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

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