by Holly Cox
My favorite time of the year is Christmas. The lights, the gift giving and the fire with cozy cocoa just warm my spirit. But there is one Christmas that I’ll never forget.
It was a Christmas Eve a couple of years past and I was making my usual rounds up and down chimneys. I remember the house because it had a chimney wide enough for me to slide through comfortably. After I had delivered the presents, stuffed the stockings, and eaten all the cookies, I prepared to leave the house.
Only then did a small shadow catch my eye. It was a small boy, probably around the age of seven, with giant glasses reflecting doleful eyes. He was cocking his head, staring at me in wonder. It was not often that a child would see me, but when they did I would smile at them, get them a glass of water and coax them back to bed.
But he wouldn’t take the glass. Instead he asked me if he could ask me a question. I said yes he could, since he already asked me one.
“Why do we celebrate Christmas?” he asked in a small voice.
I was shocked. Never had anyone asked me this question.
“Why do you ask that?” I inquired.
He shrugged his frail shoulders.
“My mommy says it’s because it’s Jesus’ birthday. But I don’t understand how you fit into Christmas. You’re not Jesus.”
I chuckled, sitting down in a comfy chair and grasping him gently on the shoulders to bring him face to face with me.
“No, I’m not Jesus. But I’ve met Jesus. And do you know what he told me? He said, ‘Nick, I have a special task to give to you. As you know I will have to leave this earth soon and return to heaven. What I’m afraid of, though, is when I’m gone, people will forget me, and why I was born. I was born as a gift to mankind. I want you to remind them of this. Remind them that their brother, Jesus Christ, loves them and cares for them. Give them gifts every year so that they may remember what I have done for them; just as the wise man gave me gifts.’ ‘And when shall I give them these gifts?’ I asked him. He smiled at me and gently shook his head. ‘You decide. But whenever you choose, call this day Christmas, in my honor.’ And that is why we celebrate Christmas.”
The boy just looked at me, and then suddenly wrapped me in his tiny embrace.
“Merry Christmas,” he whispered.
He then turned, grabbed his glass of water and left.
“Merry Christmas,” I whispered to the empty room.
I stood up and left, not giving it another thought, focusing solely on my given task. But once I got home, settling in to wait for the next Christmas, I thought about it a great deal. And even though Christmases come and go, I will always remember this one.