I overheard a conversation in the shop yesterday between a young boy and an old lady from the village. She was having a very serious conversation with the boy about what he was wanting from Santa for his Christmas. The young lad, like every other child that age began to list off a whole load of things he had on his list.
The old lady listened patiently and then asked if he had been a good boy all year. The boy thought for a moment and answered in all honesty that he had not been good all the time but that most of the time he was.
The old lady thought for a moment and said, "I have a feeling Santa will forgive those mistakes, and because you were honest about them he will be good to you." Off she went with her messages leaving the young lad with a huge smile.
As I left the shop I looked at the young boy and his mother and was glad that I was not the one having to fulfil the expectations of that list.
The incident did remind me of another story and a true one I heard as a minister.
Daisy and her thirteen-year-old sister, Mia, had been fighting a great deal during the last year. This often can happen when you combine a strong-willed two-year-old, who is sure she is always right, with a young adolescent.
Daisy's parents, trying to take advantage of her newfound interest in Santa Claus, reminded the two-year-old that Santa was watching and he was unhappy when he saw children argue and fight. This had little impact on little Mia who really did not understand.
The mother saw this as a chance to do a little educating.
"I'll just have to tell Santa about your misbehaviour," the mother said as she picked up the phone and dialled. Mia's eyes grew big as her mother asked, "Mrs. Claus?' [it was really Daisy and Mia's aunt as Santa's real line was busy] if she could put Santa on the line.
Mia's mouth dropped even further open her mother described to Santa [Mia's uncle] how the two-year-old was acting. When her mother told Mia that Santa wanted to talk to her, she reluctantly took the phone.
Santa, speaking in a deep voice, explained to Mia how there would be no presents Christmas morning to children who fought with their sisters. He would be watching, and he expected things to be better from now on.
Mia, now even more wide eyed, solemnly nodded to each of Santa's remarks and silently hung the phone up when he was done.
After a short while, the mother [trying hard not to laugh at being so clever] asked Mia, "What did Santa say to you, darling?"
In almost a whisper, Mia, sadly but matter-of-factly stated, "Mummy, Santa said he won't be bringing any toys to Daisy this year."
Now I wonder what lesson was learned from this little experiment? I think it has to be the simple lesson of life, do not try to be too smart with children.
I just have to ask, "Have you all been good this year?"
Have a wonderful day.