It’s the time of year when gifts are exchanged. Bell ringers thank strangers as they put coins in red kettles. Stores beckon shoppers promising warmth and great sales. Friends gather, sip good cheer. And if you’re lucky, you’ll receive a holiday card or two.
It’s also the time of year for solicitations . . . in the mail, on the internet, over the phone. . . “Our need is great. Won’t you give?”
We can’t possibly share our money with everyone who asks. But we can share kindness, broad smiles and stories that invite us to pause, and reflect the meaning of the season.
‘Twas the night before Christmas here and there, someone is reading, reflecting and nodding.
Santa’s Secret Wish by Betty Werth
He leaned up and whispered in Santa’s good ear.
“How do you do it, year after year?
I want to know how, as you travel about,
Giving gifts here and there, you never run out.
How is it, Dear Santa, that in your pack of toys
You have plenty for all of the world’s girls and boys?
Stays so full, never empties, as you make your way
From rooftop to rooftop, to homes large and small,
From nation to nation, reaching them all?”
And Santa smiled kindly and said to the boy,
“Don’t ask me hard questions. Don’t you want a toy?”
But the child shook his head, and Santa could see
That he needed the answer. “Now listen to me,”
He told the small boy with the light in his eyes,
“My secret will make you both sadder and wise.
The truth is that my sack is magic. Inside
It holds millions of toys for my Christmas Eve ride.
But although I do visit each girl and each boy
I don’t always leave them a gaily wrapped toy.
Some homes are too hungry, some homes are too sad,
Some homes are desperate, some homes are bad.
Some homes are broken, and children there grieve.
Those homes I do visit, but what should I leave?
My sleigh is filled with the happiest stuff,
But for homes where despair lives, toys aren’t enough.
So I tiptoe in, kissing each girl and each boy,
And I pray with them that they’ll be given the joy
Of the spirit of Christmas, the spirit that lives
In the heart of the dear child who gets not, but gives.
If only God hears me and answers my prayer,
When I visit them next year, what I will find there
Are homes filled with peace, and with giving, and love
And boys and girls gifted with light from above.
It’s a very hard task, my smart little brother,
To give toys to some, and to give prayers to others.
But the prayers are the best gifts, the best gifts indeed,
For God has a way of meeting each need.
That’s part of the answer. The rest, my dear youth,
Is that my sack is magic. And that is the truth.
In my sack I carry on Christmas Eve day
More love than a Santa could e`er give away.
The sack never empties of love, or of joys
`Cause inside it are prayers, faith and hope. Not just toys.
The more that I give, the fuller it seems,
Because giving is my way of fulfilling dreams.
And do you know something? You’ve got a sack, too.
It’s as magic as mine, and it’s inside of you.
It never gets empty, it’s full from the start.
It’s the center of lights, and of love. It’s your heart.
And if on this Christmas you want to help me,
Don’t be so concerned with the gifts `neath your tree.
Open that sack called your heart, and then share
Your joy and your friendship, your wealth and your care.”
The light in the small boy’s eyes was glowing.
“Thanks for the secret. I’ve got to be going.”
“Wait, little boy,” said Saint Nick, “Please don’t go.
Will you share? Will you help? Will you use what you know?”
And just for a moment the small boy stood still,
Touched his heart with his hand and whispered,