This is a busy time of year for churches and for clergy---often an unexpectedly heavy time as well. In light of that, we'll be keeping it light here at the Blue Room for the next few weeks. Here's something I wrote for Caroline for Christmas a few years back. Every single one of my kids is or was afraid of Santa Claus. One thing that the previous church I served does well is connect Santa with the story of Saint Nicholas, which is a religious story. This poem grows out of all of that.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The family was sleeping, the daddies and mamas, And three little children in footy pajamas. Caroline was the older of the two little girls, She was dreaming of MaDear and cute flying squirrels.*
She woke up at twelve, and said, yawning, “I think I’d better get up and get something to drink.” She crept down the hall, turned on the night light, Heard noises downstairs and thought “Something’s not right.”
The sound was a tinkling of bells and a boot So she tiptoed downstairs in careful pursuit, Her first clue was there on the table she passed: A small empty plate and an empty milk glass!
And that’s when she saw him, right there in the room Though it was quite hard to see in the darkness and gloom. He turned and smiled brightly, and that’s when she froze: Too frightened to move, from her head to her toes.
“Well hello,” Santa smiled, “my sweet Caroline, Are you enjoying Christmas? Having a good time?” But Caroline just stared. She couldn’t quite speak--- She tried to respond but her voice just went “Squeak!”
Then she cleared her throat, coughed, and tried speaking once more, “You scare me,” she whispered, her eyes toward the floor. He nodded and sighed, stroked his beard with his hand, And said, “Don’t you worry; I quite understand.
“Just look at me! Why, with this beard long and hairy And giant red suit, well I’m sure I look scary. But listen, there’s something I need you to hear: I work for somebody who loves you, my dear!
“I work for Jesus, sharing God’s peace I give so the spirit of Christmas will increase! For seventeen centuries I’ve been spreading joy To kids through the ages, to girls and to boys.
“Before there were airplanes, or light bulbs, shampoo, Before there were bicycles, cupcakes, or YOU! I’ve been hard at work, heeding Christ’s call To do what I can to spread goodness to all.
“But that’s it!” said St. Nick. “I’ve scared my last kid! I’m ditching this suit. Of this beard I’ll be rid!” And he marched to the bathroom and shaved off that beard, And changed his clothes also, and then reappeared.
In a T-shirt and blue jeans he looked pretty plain Just like any old guy you might meet down the lane. And Caroline thought, “There’s no reason for fright; I guess that this Santa guy must be all right!”
Then Santa Claus said with a smile, “Here’s a thought! Will you help me this evening? I still have a lot Of people to help, of kids to make smile, I’d sure like your company with me a while.”
And Caroline said “Sure!” and slipped on some shoes, And zipped with St. Nick up the fireplace flue. Nestled down in the sleigh with a quilt on her lap With the reindeers in charge they took off in a snap!
They rose o’er the trees, to a sparkling sky And a view of the world that delighted her eye: Just look at this beautiful, wonderful earth Just waiting to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
They spent the whole evening delivering toys Making sure to give things that each person enjoys. But they didn’t stop there, they gave help to the poor (The very best part of their long midnight tour.)
At the end of the night, Santa brought her back down To her house in the midst of the just-waking town, And she gave him a hug and said “God bless St. Nick, Who gives help to the needy and lonely and sick.”
Her family found her asleep in the den, And she said, “I helped Santa! I’d do it again! We all should love others, give comfort and aid; It’s what God really wants for this world that God made!”
Then Caroline thought, “Was it all just a dream? Maybe it was… but how real it did seem!” The parents, they doubt her, the family disputes, ‘Til they see in the corner: a pair of black boots.
* an inside joke