A Handmade Christmas Story

My mother-in-law always thinks of ways to show her love by doing things for others, or making things for others. For years we have received handmade birthday cards, photo books and gifts for Christmas, and many other thoughtful, handmade gifts. One Christmas, Diane hand-painted illustrations to “A Christmas Story“, and made books for her grandchildren. Enjoy these water colored images as you read “A Christmas Story.Wishing you all the blessings of Christmas, Christie

Just a week before Christmas I had a visitor. This is how it happened…

It was late, and after finishing the household chores I fell asleep in a big chair in the living room. I don’t know how long I slept. All of a sudden I opened my eyes and jumped up! You can imagine my surprise when I saw Santa Claus himself standing next to my Christmas tree. He placed his finger over his mouth so I would not cry out.

“What are you doing?” I asked. I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. Gone was the eager boisterous soul we all knew.

He answered me with a simple statement of “Teach the Children.” I was puzzled. What did he mean? As I stood there bewildered, Santa said again, “Teach the children. Teach them the old meanings – the symbolism behind the traditions of Christmas.” Santa knew the children loved him and the gifts he brought them. However, he was afraid they did not know the true meaning of Christmas.

Santa pointed to the brilliant shiny star on our tree. “The star was the heavenly sign of promise. God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was a sign of the fulfillment of that promise on the night Jesus was born. The countless shining stars at night now show the burning hope of all mankind.”

Santa’s kind old face was becoming soft and more gentle.

Then Santa drew forth a glittering red Christmas ornament from his wonderful, gift-filled bag. “Teach the children red is the first color of Christmas. It was first used by the faithful people to remind them of the blood which was shed by the Savior for all the people. Christ gave His life and shed His blood that every man might have the gift of eternal life. Red is deep, intense, vivid…it is the greatest color of all. When man sees the color red, it should remind him of that most wonderful gift.”

“Teach the children,” he said, as he dislodged a small Christmas tree from the depths of his bag. He placed it before the mantle and gently hung the red ornament on its branch. The deep green of the fir tree was the perfect background for the ornament. Here was the second color of Christmas…

“The pure green color of the stately fur tree remains green all year round,” he said. “It depicts the everlasting hope of mankind. Green is the youthful, hopeful, abundant color of nature. The needles point heavenward… symbols of man’s returning thoughts toward heaven. The great green tree has been man’s best friend. It has sheltered him, warmed him, and made beauty for him.”

Suddenly, I heard a soft tinkling sound.

“Teach the children that as the lost sheep are guided to safety by the sound of the bell, it rings for man to return to the fold. It signifies that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord.”

“Teach the children to follow the true Shepard, who gave HIs life for the sheep.”

As the soft sound of the bell faded into the night, Santa drew forth a candle. He placed it on the mantle, and the soft glow from its tiny flame cast a glow about the darkened room. Odd shapes in the shadows slowly danced and weaved upon the walls.

“Teach the children,” whispered Santa, “that the candle shows man’s thanks for the gift of God’s Son at that Christmas Eve of long ago. Its small light is the mirror of starlight. Teach children that they can let their light shine for all to see.”

“At first, candles were placed on the trees, they were like many glowing stars shining against the dark green. The colored lights have now taken over in remembrance.”

Santa then picked up a gift from under the tree. He pointed to a large bow and said, “A bow is placed on the present to remind us of the spirit of brotherhood of man. We should remember that the bow is tied as men should be tied – all of us together – with the bonds of good will toward each other. GOOD WILL FOREVER is the message of the bow.”

A smile was now on Santa’s face.

Again Santa reached in his bag. This time he brought out a candy cane and placed it high on the tree. “Teach the Children that the candy cane represents the shepherd’s crook. The crook on the shepherd’s staff helps bring back strayed sheep from the flock. The candy cane represents the helping hand we should show at Christmas time. It is the symbol that we are our brother’s keeper.”

As Santa looked about the room, a feeling of satisfaction shone in his face. He read wonderment in my eyes, and I am sure he sensed admiration for this night.

Before Santa slung his great bag over his shoulder, he reached in one last time. He brought forth a beautiful wreath made of fresh, fragrant greenery.. He placed it on the door and said, “Please teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature of love: it never ceases, stops, or ends. It is a circle, without beginning or end. It is one continuous round representing eternity and the eternal nature of Christ’s love. It can be made of many things and is many colors. It reminds us of all the wonderful things of Christmas.”

Santa smiled at me as he prepared to leave.

I asked him, “But what about you, Santa?”

“Bless you, my dear,” he laughed, “I’m a symbol myself. I represent the spirit of family fun and the joy of giving and receiving. If the children are taught these other things, there is no danger that I’ll ever be forgotten.”

I was starting to understand.

“That’s why I came,” said Santa. “Now YOU will teach the children…”

As he left, he smiled again and whispered, “Have a Merry Christmas!”

Watercolors by Diane Ottosen

Adaptation of “A Christmas Story”, author unknown