As you know, this is my busiest time of the year; and in most times past, it has always been my happiest time of the year.
Maybe you never thought about Santa as not being happy, what with all my look-alike helpers everywhere quoting my ever-popular “Ho ho ho,” along with my usual smile and hearty laugh, but I think it’s time for a little understanding about some of the things that can and do make Santa sad.
I can’t think of anything I love more than children: the tender and growing beginnings of all grown-ups, just like the tender and growing buds of spring that will eventually become the beautiful flowers we see in a garden. Fortunately, Mother Nature supplies everything flowers of a field may need, but flowers in a garden, since they were carefully arranged or placed there by humans, need extra care to look their best and thrive. Children, like those flowers in a garden, need to be cared for to blossom and thrive.
I have always known that some children don’t get nearly enough care — which has always been one of my deep sorrows — but what I want to particularly bring out in this letter today is how some children refuse to grow into the beautiful flowers they could become.
No child who believes in me or is old enough to read these words can say they don’t know the difference between a beautiful flower and one that has withered and died. Beautiful flowers need no reason for their beauty: they merely grow into what they are and bring joy to everyone who sees them. But when the flowers right next to them wither away, someone is sure to ask how that could have happened. Weren’t they “watered”? Didn’t they get enough “sun”?
Yes, Santa is talking about the good (or nice) children and those who seem to be ending up permanently on the “Naughty” list. It is so sad to me to know that little growing children seem to think it is okay or even fun to do certain things that set them on the road to withering.
Thank goodness most children will manage to blossom into flowers no matter what. But those who do not are trying their best to take other “flowers” down with them. They become the bad examples that your parents warn you against. They probably don’t even realize that they are depriving themselves of “water” and “sunshine,” but as they grow older, they display more and more of the very things that make them wither before they have ever blossomed.
Many of today’s children listen to those who are slightly older and already going down the wrong path. They therefore “copy” them or
simply follow their lead, talking back to their parents in a disrespectful manner and refusing to do what their parents ask of them. Some children go so far as to steal from their own parents, as well as from stores or other people, according to their belief that they can get away with it. They “look up to” the tough kids or the examples of wrongdoing that they see in the movies, on TV, or in any number of video games, and feel that it is far more fun or exciting to follow that lead than simply obey their parents and be what their friends might consider a “goody-goody.”
I realize that most children don’t give being on the “Nice” list a thought during most of the year, although they may try to put on a good show come December, just in case…, but within my limited capacity to influence any of you to get and stay on that list, I want you to imagine right now, if you did everything you ever wanted to do or that someone was trying to influence you to do, what the consequences would have been then and what they still might be today.
Perhaps you do not know that some children want to be “grown up” all of a sudden, without going through the normal growing-up process in the natural course of time. They do such things as they see their parents or other adults doing, thinking that it will make them look or feel grown up. They use very bad language and words that even their own parents might not use, they steal and drink their parents’ alcoholic beverages, take and smoke their cigarettes, find and use such substances as their medical marijuana or any pills that they think will make them act like adults act when they take them; they decide it would be “cool” to bring that not-so-well-hidden gun to school to show their friends… or maybe to “threaten” those who are not their friends. But because they are children, and don’t know what adults know, they don’t know that there are bullets in the chamber and they don’t know how to keep the gun from discharging and accidentally killing one of their schoolmates or their own self. And they don’t know that in addition to the horrors they can wreak, with or without knowing what they are doing, they can cause endless misery and sorrow to their own parents and to everyone in their life that is touched by any deed that they will have done in their desire to rebel against their parents or just in their misguided desire to be “cool” or copy that person who may have become their role model for how to permanently remain off the “Nice” list.
I know. You’re just a child and would never think of doing “bad” things. But unfortunately it isn’t only grown-ups who end up in police stations these days. And it isn’t only grown-ups who have to “go away” somewhere to be punished for what they did.
That is why Santa is so sad this year. More and more older children have become something that no parent ever wants to see their child become: a withered flower. If you believe in the Spirit of Christmas — the spirit of kindness and sharing and love — please remember that it really exists all year long and can’t be turned on and off like a faucet. Living that Christmas Spirit also includes choosing a role model — someone to copy — that will help you grow into an even kinder and more loving person yourself, someone who will never have to suffer horrible regrets for having done the wrong thing.
Santa knows you can avoid doing the wrong thing the more you continue to choose doing the right thing all year long. And if you do that for no other reason than to permanently stay on the “Nice” list, that’s okay; but it’s important for me to point out that the more you follow
Santa’s advice, the happier everyone will be, and the more the true Spirit of Christmas will always fill the world!
* * * * *