In first grade, our teacher asked us to pen a letter to Santa for Christmas.
She asked us, “Name one present you would like Santa to bring you for Christmas.”
Then we were to write a letter to Santa, who, according to her, lived at the North Pole, and tell him what we wanted for Christmas and why we wanted it. Then, we put it in an envelope and she mailed it to the North Pole.
At the time, I thought my teacher had a connection with Santa Claus. She said so many nice things about him that she must have known him personally. Accordingly, I thought a letter delivered to him by my teacher would have credit.
The other night the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were sitting around drinking some hot cocoa and thinking about Christmas. She had just put up the Christmas tree with all of the decorations. She does such a wonderful job that I let her do it.
Actually, one year I did try to help her and it was a catastrophe to say the least. Since then, I am to watch and fetch and that’s all. The Christmas decorations are wonderful and create a Christmasy spirit.
As I was admiring the Christmas decorations, I happened to mention to her about the first grade letter to Santa. I casually said, “I guess Santa never got my letter.”
I chuckled and said, “I never got a pony for Christmas.”
Together we laughed and then she said something that caused me to pause. “Do you want a pony for Christmas this year?”
The way she looked at me when she asked that question, I thought she was being serious. It caused me a little bit of pause because what in the world would I do with a pony now.
Then, I’m not one to let a situation go without playing it for all it’s worth.
With a very serious look on my face, I said to her, “I sure would love to have a pony this year. It would make my Christmas just wonderful.”
“Well,” she said rather sarcastically, “you’ll have to send a letter to me if you want that pony this year.”
After a few moments of silence, we both broke out laughing.
Where in the world would we put a pony in the Parsonage? What in the world, would I do with the pony in the Parsonage?
Actually, I had not thought about that letter to Santa for a very long time. It is amazing what you do when you are young and then years later for some reason you remember it.
Then in the middle of all of this pondering, my wife hit me with the question that I’m still not sure about.
“Okay, what do you really want for Christmas this year?”
I can think of many things. Pens, books and pocketknives to add to my collection. I can never have enough of these things. But, is that what I really want for Christmas this year?
Pondering the question, I could not come up with a serious answer.
To try to throw her off her guard, I said to her, “First, tell me what you would like for Christmas this year.”
I thought she would give me a well-documented list of gifts that she would like for Christmas. She is so organized in everything she does I was pretty certain she was organized in this area as well.
I have known this young lady when she was actually young and to this day, I would have a hard time getting a present for her that would actually surprise her. We have different likes and dislikes which makes us a very good team.
“Oh, no,” she said abruptly. “You’re not getting away with that. Before I tell you what I want for Christmas you’re going to have to tell me what you want for Christmas.”
If anybody knows how to back me into a corner, it is the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. I have been backed into so many corners that there are none left in our house.
I honestly did not know what to tell her. Then, much to my surprise, a wonderful thought began dancing in my cranium. It danced so much it made me think. I came up with a special Christmas gift for this year that I knew she could not contradict.
“After giving this a lot of thought,” I said very soberly, “what I want for Christmas this year is another year to live with you.”
Needless to say, she had nothing to say about that. Very few times do I get to say something that causes her to be silent.
I was reminded of what the apostle Paul said. “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10).
The most important thing about the Christian life is not what God gives you, but rather that he gives you himself. Relationships are a great deal more important than possessions.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores.