No Santa Claus?

   Written by on December 23, 2014 at 2:58 pm

It was an earth-shattering day. I was a seven-year old boy looking forward to Christmas. School had just started after Thanksgiving break. Butch, an older friend of nine, had told us at the lunch table that there was no Santa Claus. I was thunderstruck. I rushed home after school and told the sad news to my mother. All she said was, “Well, we’ll see about that.”

word-Stephen CrottsOne Saturday in early December she put me in the car, drove downtown, shoved a ten-dollar bill in my hand, and said, “Now, go into Crawford’s Clothing Store and buy someone who needs something a gift.”

I walked in timidly, unsure of who or what or why. But when I came to a rack of winter coats, I thought of a poor kid in my school who in the snow wore neither a hat nor a coat. His father was rumored to be an alcoholic. And his mother walked about with such a sad look on her face. Picking out a red coat, I carried it proudly to the shop owner’s desk and said, “Mister, I want to buy this coat.” And I plopped my ten dollars on the counter. “A fine choice, son. Is this for yourself?”  “No, sir!” And I explained it was for Billy, this poor kid in my class at school. He smiled, took my money, and placed the coat in a gift box.

I got back in the car, Mother waiting, and told her of my gift purchase. We went home and she pulled the tags off the coat and gift wrapped it.  I showed her the way to Billy’s house. We parked a block away. I crept quietly up to the door, placed the present on the doorstep, and ran like the wind back to the car. “That’s how it’s done,” my mother said, matter-of-factly. For some days, and then years, afterward I smiled to myself when I saw Billy wearing that red coat. I smiled again when as a teenager I found Mother’s Bible. The bookmark was a coat tag from Crawford’s store, the coat section, for a red, medium winter jacket. It read $29.95. “And that’s how it’s done,” Mother told me in 1957.

Yes, that is how it’s done. And it still is. Merry Christmas. God bless us everyone. Yes, I am still sure there will always be a Santa Claus.

The Reverend Stephen Crotts is pastor of Village Presbyterian Church in Charlotte Court House, VA. He is also the director of the Carolina Study Center, Inc., a campus ministry, located in Chapel Hill, NC. Pastor Crotts may be reached at carolinastudycenter@msn.com.

About Stephen Crotts

The Reverend Stephen Crotts is pastor of Village Presbyterian Church in Charlotte Court House, VA. He is also the director of the Carolina Study Center, Inc., a campus ministry, located in Chapel Hill, NC. Pastor Crotts may be reached at carolinastudycenter@msn.com.

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