Christmas requests: Who’s asking?
The following are two true stories about Christmas.
Dear Santa, Love Amanda
One day last Christmas while reading the Fort Campbell Army base newspaper, I found a section that included letters to Santa. Slowly, I read each letter. A specific letter that caught my attention was just a few short lines. It was written by a young girl named Amanda. In it, she did not ask for toys, clothes, or any type of entertainment. Her only plea to Santa was just to have her father, who was deployed overseas, return home for Christmas. The length of this letter, though brief, spoke volumes. Most people could literally visualize this sad, little girl writing this letter. Amanda is but one of countless children, spouses, and family members that experience the tremendous emptiness of a loved one who is deployed. May God bless all of them.
In the pre-dawn hours while completing the packing for a trip to Fort Campbell, Ky., a thought crossed his mind that he should pack his Santa Claus suit, even though there was no pressing plans to use it. So, into the car it went. Unbeknownst to him, a great experience was to unfold before him in the following days. About a day after he arrived at the Holiday Inn located on Fort Campbell, he noticed Post-it Notes on the outside of a door to another room down the hall. This piqued his curiosity, and he walked to the door. The door’s notes were from a child asking Santa for various toys, etc.
The thought again crossed his mind about the Santa Claus suit that he had brought along with him. So, he knocked on the Post-it Notes-covered door and a lady answered. (It was the child’s mother.) Quietly, he told her that he saw the Post-it notes. She proceeded to relate that, when the little boy was a year old, her husband was stationed in Bavaria for three years and that the family was relocated there as well.
To make a long story short, her son was having a difficult time adjusting to living in the United States. That is why there were Post-it Notes on the door. The man asked her if her son would like to see Santa. She smiled and said at this time they could really use Santa. At that moment, it struck him why he had that notion to take the suit. It was a message from Him that he had heard.
So, the mother inconspicuously gathered some presents and secretly wrapped them away from her son. The presents were then dropped off to Santa. While there, a prearranged time was established for Santa to arrive.
The moment arrived and Santa opened the door to see the little boy’s face full of surprise, happiness, and amazement, so much so that he was jumping on the bed. Santa also talked to him and gave him the presents. Memorable photos of the two were also taken; the child was so, so happy. To warm the heart of a little boy who was struggling to adjust to life in America was priceless. To see the elated faces of his mother, father, and sister was endearing. The gift from the family to Santa sits on the mantle of his fireplace as a reminder of that special moment — and a reminder to listen to those quiet messages.
At Christmas, the gifts of toys, entertainment, tools, clothes, etc. is minuscule in comparison to the gift I (that man) received that day. There is another part that is related to this story, but that will have to wait for next Christmas.
From the Paul family to all of you: Have a blessed and merry Christmas and a happy year, especially all of the personnel in the armed forces and their families.
Daniel J. Paul is a retired school administrator. His columns focus on education, old-fashioned family values, relationships, and other topics. To submit comments or find archived columns, go to meaningfuldifferences.net.