To the Editor:
Wouldn’t you love to be the real Santa Claus? You’d have to have an authentic, snowy white beard so that when the little girls gave it a tug, it would sting your chin. And you’d have to have a jolly round belly, so that when the little boys gave you a poke, you’d giggle. You’d need very strong legs, so that lots of children could sit on your lap and tell you what is on their lists. You’d need a long red coat with a thick, white, furry trim to keep you warm while riding in your sleigh. You’d also need lots of carrots for the eight reindeer, and, oh yes, plenty of chocolate chip cookies and milk for you.
You would travel around the world so that you could listen to all of the children’s dreams. You’d listen to children with red skin, white skin, black skin, tan skin, and even dirty skin. You’d listen to children from Ecuador, India, Iceland, Canada, Thailand, Tanzania, Portugal, and Nebraska. You’d let small children, tall children, redheads and bald children sit on your lap for hours at a time. You’d use sign language with the deaf children, and Braille with the children who could not see. You’d listen carefully to the children who stutter. You’d hug the children with AIDS or cancer. You’d smile like a father at the orphans, and be gentle with the children who were abused. You’d hold tightly to the crippled ones, and not mind the smelly ones. You’d let the poor ones wear your hat, and keep your promises to the homeless ones. You’d be patient with the special needs children, and count freckles with the freckled ones. You’d enjoy each and every child’s visit and you’d have to keep a list of all of their dreams, like:
- the little boy who dreams of enough food for his family’s table.
- the little girl who dreams of having warm clothes for the cold winter.
- the brothers who dream of finding their siblings.
- the sons who dream of their fathers hugging them instead of hitting them.
- the teenagers who dream of the day their mothers stop drinking.
- the girls who dream of their grandmothers remembering who they are.
- the boys who dream of their grandfathers coming home from the hospital.
- the sister who dreams of her brother becoming drug-free.
- the boy who dreams of a schoolyard where there are no bullies.
- the children who dream of having the wisdom to make good decisions.
- the girls who dream of having a sister to share secrets with.
- the boys who dream of having a brother to play games with.
If you could be the real Santa Claus, you would listen to all of these children, and by the magical power of love for all children, you could make all of their dreams come true. Then on Christmas Eve, every child could fall asleep dreaming of peace, love, hope, and joy.
You probably don’t have a snowy white beard, a long red coat, and reindeer and a sleigh in the garage. But you do have arms that can hug, a lap for children to sit on, a smile that can warm a young heart, ears that can listen, and a heart full of love.
So if you can’t be the real Santa and help children around the world, then be one of Santa’s helpers, and do whatever you can for the children that you do know. And instead of working just one day a year, work every day of the year, helping to bring peace on earth and goodwill toward all.