Is Santa Real?

This has been a very different Christmas season for us.  It started with our last paycheck before Christmas being significantly short to our budget thanks to a couple of sick days which didn't get paid and Thanksgiving, which also didn't get paid.  I don't think we have ever been more broke, financially.

I have been wanting to "live slower" - a lifestyle of consumerism rejection.  Trying to find ways other than spending money to meet your needs.  Dumpster diving, no shampoo, family wipes are all a part of this shift in life choices.  It seems fortune (or misfortune) is helping to force this paradigm shift in our lives.

Then Christmas rolls around and I have young children - still in that small window of time where Santa is real and Christmas morning is magical - and I start to experience a small symphony of emotions.  It starts with sadness - that my kids will realize Santa isn't real this year.  Then a smattering of self-pity - that I can't give them all the things I would like to.  Then it moves on to nostalgia - thinking back on years past, the excitement of their little voices calling out, "Mommy!  Daddy!  Get up!  Get up!  Santa's been here!"  And finally, I settle into determination - accepting our circumstances and ready to make the most of what we have and continue in the pursuit of a non-consumer Merry Christmas.

After all, we are truly blessed.  We have all the food we could want, a warm home to protect against the cold, and a job - something many in our country are without this Christmas.  And I'm selfishly thinking about my own lack of "things" to give my kids??  It shouldn't be about the things at all.  It's supposed to be about the birth of Jesus.  The birth of my Saviour, my King, my Lord.  The keeper of my every breath.  The One who loves me with an unconditional love.  A love so big that He would be born for the very task of dying for me.

That puts it back in perspective.

So off I go on the Saturday before Christmas to the free-store in Indianola.  It is a thrift store where everything is free.  We already have a wooden doll house to give the girls, which was given to us by Grandma Mary when we moved from Arizona, to give them whenever we saw fit.  This Christmas they are both old enough.  But I am hoping to sneak a few stocking stuffer type toys into my bag while the girls are otherwise occupied rummaging through the toy bins to round out the Christmas morning experience.

God is smiling on me as I find some great little stocking stuffers that will also be great companion pieces to the dollhouse.  Plus I get a battery powered guitar for Trinity and a set of nice, wooden bongo drums for Angelina, and a princess teapot so they can have a proper tea.  My heart is warmed at the thought of their delight come Christmas morning.  So much so, that it doesn't pain me in the least to tell them we don't have the money to buy all the gimmicky Christmas stuff on display when we go in to Walmart to cash in a couple of our WIC checks.

But God isn't done yet. (But God.... such a familiar phrase for Bible readers!)
David calls that afternoon to let me know he is done with his last job and coming home.  He says, "you won't believe what this customer gave me for the girls."  Hard to guess.  He comes home with all sorts of things that customers give him while he is there to set up their Dish Network - bags of garden produce, bottles of ketchup, candles, health drinks, apples, jeans, wine, home made jerky... all of these and more I can't even think of right now have all been gifted.

He tells me and I'm speechless.  Are you kidding me?!?  When David gets home I sneak out to the garage to take a look.  We were given one of these:

It looks to be almost new.... certainly in great condition.  I just look up and say, "God, are you laughing at me?!  O, ye of little faith and all that?"

Then my friend Cheryl stops by that evening with a couple of presents for the girls.

Then we get a package from my Aunt Cookie full of gifts - one being an electronic keyboard complete with a large supply of extra batteries.  God is really getting a good laugh now since I was wondering how I was going to get batteries for the guitar for Trinity.   "Don't worry," He says, "they are on the way along with a keyboard to round out your musical Christmas!"

I started out worrying about having enough for the girls come Christmas day.
I ended up worrying about the girls getting too much come Christmas day!

And this is such a perfect example of how God works.  Did he fix everything in my life?  No.  We still have a broken water pipe, a broken garage door, and broken teeth.  But did he take care of the things that were weighing most heavily on my heart?  Yes.

It's His way of reminding me, gently and lovingly, that indeed He is in control of all our circumstances and is with me through them all.

So when Trinity asks me if Santa is real, I know exactly what to tell her.  The conversation goes like this:

Trinity:  Mom, is Santa real?

Me:  Santa is real like Dora is real, and like Elmo is real and like Sponge Bob is real.

Trinity:  The song says that Santa only brings presents to kids who aren't naughty.  And I've been naughty.

Me:  Would you like to know a secret about Santa?  It isn't Santa that provides the gifts.  It's Jesus.  And when Jesus was born, He came to bring us mercy.  Mercy is when we don't get what we deserve.  So even though you were naughty, Jesus forgives you, and will still bring you gifts.  Just remember, when you find gifts under the tree on Christmas morning, they all came from Jesus.

And that is the truth!


  1. You really are blessed - but you knew that already. ;) Have a WONDERFUL Christmas!

    P.S. - Did the clothes make it to you yet? Mr. Mailman has been mighty slow as of late.

  2. Yes, they actually got here on Monday, I think. I thought I left you a comment on your blog to let you know... I must have gotten trigger happy and it didn't go through... I just looked and it isn't there. So a great big THANK YOU to you! I didn't let Trinity see or she would have wanted to wear everything and I want them for next year! (esp. the cool holiday dress!)

  3. Whew! I'm glad to hear that they made it, and even happier to hear that you liked them! We'll no doubt have more for y'all eventually. ;)

    Take care & Merry Christmas!