When it snowed yesterday, my four year old ran to the window and screamed in excitement, “It’s Christmas! Santa is coming!” He thinks that the day it snows, Christmas will come along with Santa and his presents. I love the childlike innocence!
Today also marks my Grandpa’s birthday which is why I chose to do this song today. My Grandpa passed away seven years ago and today he would have been 94. The reason I thought of him was because Grandpa spent many years playing Santa Claus. He had so many stories that he used to share of visiting homes. He absolutely loved playing Santa! He used to come visit our homes as Santa, making Christmas Eve that much more magical. The younger grandkids would always just stare at him, not scared, but confused, because he seemed so familiar. While you couldn’t see his face, you could see his eyes, and they would always stare right into them. He looked like someone they should know and yet they were sitting on a bearded man with a red suit.
He also used to “call” Santa throughout the year. I remember when he would babysit my brother and I. If we started acting up, he’d say, “Kids, I’m calling Santa right now! You better behave”. And sure enough, he’d grab the phone and call. He must have had someone help him out in those instances because he really had someone talking to him. When we didn’t believe him, he’d hand over the phone. I talked to “Santa” a few times and always felt my place on the “nice” list was certain. My brother, on the other hand, was a different story….
One story that he shared with me was of a snowy Christmas night, dark and cold. He and his friend, Gene, a blind accordion player and dear friend, went together often to Christmas parties throughout the Salt Lake Valley. On this night, it was difficult for Grandpa to see and they couldn’t find the home they were trying to get to. This was long before cell phones, so calling was out of the question. As the night wore on, it was obvious that they were lost. Grandpa was a man of faith, and Gene suggested they say a prayer to lead them to where they needed to be.
Following the prayer, they sat up and waited a moment for inspiration to strike. Suddenly, in the gloom of the wintry night, a light came on a few houses down. They both looked at each other and decided to see what it was about. Grandpa was already in his Santa suit, with his jingle bells ringing through the still night as he trudged through the snow with Gene. They turned down the path that led to the home with the porch light on. As they came closer into view, a man quickly opened the door and happily welcomed them. “You’re here, you’re here!” he said. “We’ve been praying that you would come!”
Grandpa and Gene were confused at first. This was not the home they were supposed to be at and yet they seemed to be expecting them. The man explained himself,
“It’s our family party tonight and we hired a Santa. All of the kids are here, including some from out of town. Santa has always been a special part of our holiday parties, especially for the children, but our Santa never came. A few minutes ago, my wife and prayed that somehow, Santa would come. And now, here you are!”
It was a small Christmas miracle. And one that Grandpa shared, not only because that family had their Santa that night, but because it was a story of the power of prayer. Grandpa and Gene prayed to find a home to bless with some happiness and cheer. And the man and his wife prayed for the same. The Lord is mindful of all, no matter how big or small the request. He helped them find each other on that snowy night.
So whenever I hear jingle bells (I have Grandpa’s jingle bells hanging on our door every year), see a Santa at the mall, or hear the song “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”, I think of my Grandpa and his cheerfulness, kindness to everyone no matter their circumstances, and his faith.
And because Grandpa loved his big band music, it only seemed appropriate that I share Michael Buble’s version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”. Also, I’m sharing some fun ideas on writing letters to Santa.
Because there is still time to do it, here is a cute template to print on an envelope to send a letter from Santa to your little munchkins. She shares lots of fun ideas and even has a post on getting a phone call from the big guy!