One of the warmest Christmas memories that I have
was the year that I was Santa Claus. I was a young,
substitute teacher with a new family just starting
out in life. I was called in to work at the local
grade school on the last day before the Christmas
holidays. Near the end of the day I was summoned
to the principalís office and asked to be the Santa
who visited all the classrooms. Being a great lover
of both children and Christmas I agreed.
I can still remember going from classroom to class
room doing my best to sound both old and jolly at
the same time. I was about 50 pounds heavier then
so I had the round little belly part down fine. My
beard, however, was another matter as it kept sliding
halfway down my face. I think that more than a few
of the kids recognized me, but it didnít matter.
They still rejoiced in seeing Santa. They still
laughed and delighted in their small gifts and
candy canes. They still felt joyous and happy.
They still knew that they were loved and that
was all that mattered to them.
If there is one thing that I could give to each of
you at Christmastime and every day of the year, it
would be that knowledge that you are loved. You are
loved and watched over by a greater love than you
could ever imagine. You are loved by God who made
you, who delights in you, and who wants you to be
happy. In all the difficulties, problems, and heart
aches this world brings, you are loved. In all the
obstacles you must overcome, challenges you must
face, and pain you must go through, you are loved.
In all the mistakes you make, times you stumble,
and wrong paths you take, you are loved. You are
loved every second of everyday of your life with
a glorious love that will never end.
Know that you are loved. Know that God loves you
always. Rejoice in this love with the joyous heart
of a child. And then like a jolly, laughing Santa
go out and share it with the world.