Meanwhile, Sandra found the Lionel train set we got last year and won't let anyone else have a turn with it. Doesn't her dress make you hungry for gingerbread?
Angela Karinne got a new dress for the season. It was a bonus dress we got from Nadiya. She is holding a very special stocking filled with all sorts of Christmas symbols, and wants to share with you the story that goes with them.
TEACH THE CHILDREN
Late one Christmas Eve, I sank back, tired, but content, into my easy chair. The kids were in bed, the gifts were wrapped, the milk and cookies waited by the fireplace for Santa. As I sat back admiring the tree with its decorations, I couldn't help feeling that something important was missing. It wasn't long before the tiny twinkling tree lights lulled me to sleep. I don't know how long I slept, but all of a sudden I knew that I wasn't alone. I opened my eyes, and you can imagine my surprise when I saw Santa Claus, himself, standing next to my Christmas tree.
He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot just as the poem described him, but he was not the "jolly old elf" of Christmas legend. The man who stood before me looked sad and disappointed. And there were tears in his eyes. "Santa, what's wrong?" I asked, "Why are you crying?" "It's the children," Santa replied sadly. "But Santa, the children love you," I said. "Oh, I know they love me, and they love the gifts I bring them," Santa said, "but too many of the children today seem to have forgotten or somehow missed out on learning the true meaning of Christmas. And so I ask you to teach the children."
"Teach them what?" I asked. Santa's kind old face became soft, more gentle. His eyes began to shine with something more than tears. He spoke softly. "Teach the children the true spirit of Christmas. Teach them that the part of Christmas we can see, hear, and touch is much more than meets the eye. Teach them the symbolism behind the customs and traditions of Christmas which we now observe. Teach them what it is they truly represent."
"Teach the children red is the first color of Christmas” he said as he drew forth a glittering red Christmas tree ornament from his bag and placed it on the mantel. “Red was first use by the faithful to remind them of the blood which was shed by the Savior. Christ gave His life and shed His blood that everyone might have eternal life. When they see the color red, it should remind them of God's greatest gift.”
Santa reached into his bag and dislodged a tiny Christmas tree from its depths and set the tree on my mantle and gently hung the red ornament on it. "Teach the children about the Christmas tree. Green is the second color of Christmas. The stately evergreen, with its unchanging color, represents the hope of eternal life in Jesus. Its needles point heavenward as a reminder that mankind's thoughts should turn heavenward as well."
Santa reached into his bag again and pulled out a shiny star and placed it at the top of the small tree. "Teach the children the star was the heavenly sign of promise. God promised a Savior for the world and the star was the sign of the fulfillment of that promise. Teach the children that God always fulfills His promises, and that wise men still seek Him."
Suddenly I heard a faint tinkling sound. Santa found a silver bell in his pack and placed it on the tree. "Teach the children just as lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it continues to ring today for all to be guided to the fold. Teach the children that each one of us are precious to the true Shepherd, and if we follow the Savior, we will never be led astray."
As the soft sound of the bell faded into the night, Santa drew forth a candle and placed it on the mantle and lit it. The soft glow from its one tiny flame brightened the room. Santa whispered "Teach the children the glow of the candle represents how people can show their thanks for the gift of God's son that Christmas Eve long ago. Teach the children to follow in Christ's footsteps...to go about doing good. Teach them to let their light shine before people that all may see it and glorify God. This is what's symbolized when the colored lights shine on the tree like hundreds of bright shining lights, each of them representing one of God's precious children's light shining for all to see."
Santa turned the tree lights on and picked up a gift from under the tree. He pointed to the large bow and said, “Teach the children a bow is place on a present to remind us of the spirit of the brotherhood of mankind. We should remember that the bow is tied as people should be tied, all of us together, with bonds of goodwill toward each other. Even its very shape is symbolic, representing eternity and the eternal nature of Christ's love. It is a circle, without beginning and without end. Goodwill forever is the message of the bow."
Again Santa reached into his bag and this time he brought forth a tiny red and white striped cane. As he hung it on the tree he spoke softly. "Teach the children the candy cane represents the Good Shepherd's crook, which is used to reach and lift us, who like fallen lambs, have gone astray. The red again, represents Christ's blood, which if we will follow Him, will cleanse us and make us pure and white as snow as the Savior was pure. The candy cane represents the helping hand we should show to one another. It reminds us we are our brother's keeper."
Santa at last brought forth a beautiful holly wreath out of his bag. “Teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature of love—it never ceases, stops, or ends. It is one continuous round of affection. It is made of many things in many colors and reminds us of all the things of Christmas. Please teach the children.”
I asked, "But where does that leave you Santa?" The tears gone now from his eyes, a smile broke over Santa's face. "Why bless you, my dear," he laughed, "I'm a symbol too. I represent the spirit of family fun and the joy of giving and receiving. If the children are taught these other things, there is no danger that I'll ever be forgotten." "I think I'm beginning to understand." "That's why I came," said Santa. "You're an adult. If you don't teach the children these things, then who will?"