On Friday afternoon, I had the honor of visiting a children’s home while they were invited to come out of their classes and sit on Santa’s lap.
Unsure of what to expect, I walked in slowly. I had heard of experiences others had during past visits; Sadness, joy, a mixture of emotions, and the urge to give up their entire life to make a difference for just one child. Me? I was excited but scared, and honestly, distracted. Minutes before our arrival, I had been told of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. I was in shock, though I didn’t know any of the details. Thank God that I was able to have this wonderful happy experience on such a sad day.
The children’s home, which is actually a few houses all side by side, offers a place of refuge to children that are orphaned, not wanted by family members, or have been removed from their caregivers by the state. They have very little in the way of material items, but their house-parents and teachers show them so much love.
They lined up and waited for their turns. Some children asked for teddy bears. A few of them requested bikes. One little girl broke my heart when she said she just wanted her Grandma. Every one of those children smiled and showed so much appreciation that Santa made time for them. I was just blown away.
I had “a moment” with one little girl in particular. I watched as she climbed up on Santa’s lap, whispered in his ear, and then accepted a large coloring sheet and a bag full of small gifts. Immediately, she ran to her teacher and exclaimed, “Look what I got! It was exactly what I wanted!” The teacher smiled, replied “How did they know?” and then explained that the little girl had really been wanting some erasers for her pencils. Sure enough, in her bag, was a little box of erasers that brought her great joy!
About 10 seconds later, this little girl was sitting at my feet. Looking through her bag to see what kind of loot she had, she asked me, “Did you see my presents?” I kneeled down to her level. She was such a smart, talkative, and loveable little girl! For about 2 minutes we talked. We discussed my name, her erasers, and the pencil pillows that came with them. She told me about her new coloring sheet that she had received. It had Sponge Bob on it. She let me know that she doesn’t like Sponge Bob, but she’s so grateful to have something to color and some new coloring pencils. The little girl ecstatically told me that she would even color him yellow. Then, she asked me to take her photo, followed by another request for me to retake the photo, as she didn’t like the first one. We then debated the speculation of who was really in the Santa suit. (She knew exactly who he was and giggled that he made a great Santa. I kept my lips sealed.)
Soon, she was rounded up with the other children to return to the last few minutes of class. As she walked away, she dropped a few of her new treasures. I stopped her and tucked them back into her bag. “Oh, thank you for helping me!” and off she went.
I don’t remember the last time that my heart felt such gratitude for something as that little girl showed for those erasers. Talk about guilt and reflection! That was it right there! I silently prayed for God to show me how blessed I truly am, and to never forget to be thankful.
And yes, in case you were wondering, I did want to take that little girl home with me. I won’t lie. Being unable to bring her into my family, I pray for her every day. That God would keep his hand on her, guide her, and raise her to be a Godly woman that follows His lead. And if God allows, I will go and visit the home and find out how she is doing next year.
I have another story from this day that I plan to share with you in the next few days…
This Christmas, are you truly thankful to God for your blessings? Are you reaching out to show love to others, even if a smile is all that you can afford? On Friday night, did you have to stop and question if there was still goodness in the world? Have you ever experienced something like this? I’d love to hear about it!