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12/5/09

The spirit of Christmas

Over the years at Christmas time, I have been one of the blessed few who has always had a child in the family at Christmas that "Santa" would visit. When I got old enough that he wasn't coming to see me, I had a baby brother who he visited. When my brother got "of age", my twins were little. As my children grew, my brothers and sister had children who were still waiting for Santa to come. When my youngest niece was moving into her final years with Santa, the grandchildren started arriving. Now, with 3 siblings, 9 nieces and nephews, 4 grandchildren, and 6 great nieces and nephews, Santa and I have been tight for 53 years. "Santa" has always been good to me, but I remember the best Christmas of my adult life. I have a book I read when I was in Junior High. It was called Karen by Marie Killilea. It is the true story of Karen Killilea, written by her mother. Karen was born with cerebral palsy at a time when most people believed children born with the disease should be put away in an institution. This story is about the first 10 years of Karen's life and the many obstacles she rose above. Written through a mother's experience and with a mother's love, this is the most touching, uplifting book I have ever read and I have read it many, many times. It was a best seller in 1952 and I could not find it in print anywhere. I mentioned to my husband that if there was a Santa, I wish he'd get me Karen for Christmas. On Christmas morning when all the presents were unwrapped, my hubby said "What is that under the secretary cabinet?" I scooted over and looked under it and there was a package in plain brown paper, tied with jute string. He told me to open and see what it was. You guessed it, it was Karen. My dear sweet husband, with no access to internet, had called and called until he located Karen at a book publisher in New York. I don't think a present before or after has ever thrilled me like that did. Over the years, I have come to believe that Santa is the kind spirit who exists in our hearts and minds and allows us to believe with a child-like faith. I remember one of my Sunday School students many, many years ago who was a teenager discussing with me about Santa and Jesus at Christmas. Out of the mouths of babes, "When we are little and we believe in Santa, we don't question the why or the how. We just know the IS. We have faith that he exists and that he will provide our every desire. Then, why, when we grow up is it so hard to accept that Jesus does exist and that He will provide our every desire. Why can we believe in the unreal when we have so much proof in the Bible and in our lives about Jesus and the fact He is real, but yet so many don't believe?" I thank God every day for sending His Son to provide for us and give us Christmas 365 days a year.

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