Father Christmas Tells His Story
I am Father Christmas. I am old because I am the primitive spirit of Christmas in the British Isles. Santa Claus is my European cousin who also is well known in your country. He is best known for bringing gifts. And he has been around a long time, too!
Both of us are cousins of St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas is a very old Saint. He is concerned about the welfare of the poor and needy, He especially is a protector of children. They tell many stories of when he rescued children from trouble and returned them to the care and keeping of their families. Other stories, as well, tell of children who disappeared, fell into a well, or suffered some other disaster, all were saved through the care of St. Nicholas.
As for me, I come to encourage people to celebrate the birth of Jesus, to be merry and rejoice in the day when Jesus was born. Some of the spirit I bring will remind you of the celebrating of spiritual days in my very early Britain. When we Celts were first learning of Christianity, we were still looking to the spirit of nature and the universe for guidance and devotion. Like the holly I wear. It is a reminder of the spirit we should seek during the dark days of the year, in other words, the winter. I hope the holly will help you to remember 1) to let your beauty shine in even the darkest times, 2) to remember to use good judgment to rule the daylight, and let your generosity be your legacy, and 3) to not lose heart in the darkness, remembering that the energy of life is always present, even when things seem to lack life, as in the winter months when trees are bare, all is cold, and the days are short when the sunlight seems to hide itself from us.
All of these are also reflections of the message Jesus came to share with us. So my message is really not new, It has been part of our human spirit from the moment God made the first person.
St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, 16808 Holmes Road, Belton, is anticipating a visit from the spirit of Christmas following its Christmas Eve Service at 7 p.m. In the true British tradition, Father Christmas will bring some Christmas cheer and a hot draught of hot chocolate to send worshipers off into the chilly night.
So why do I come? I come to spread joy and smiles, reminding you all to celebrate the real spirit of Christmas. I come to greet all, young and old. I bring good cheer. I bring little reminders of what is good, sometimes a small treat to tickle the tongue. And, I come to remind all that Jesus is born, so let us rejoice!
And wherever I go, I call out “Happy Christmas!” In Wales, I call out “Nadolig Llawen!” so the children there will hear me and know. In Ireland, I call our “Nollaig shona dhaoibh!” so those children will hear me and know. I don’t want to miss bringing the spirit of Christmas to all wherever I go…
Sometimes as I make my rounds, I see a person who is sad. Maybe they lost a friend. Maybe they are sick. Maybe they are missing home. I always make a point to sit with them for a moment so I can help them carry their sadness and lighten the load on their hearts that they, too, may discover the joy of Christ and the promise of what he brought to the world. Then they are better able to hear my call, “Happy Christmas!” and find the spirit to be thankful for the blessings they do have.
For the true spirit of Christmas is in being thankful for all the good that God and life brings our way, the good we have known, and the good yet to come…
So, “Happy Christmas!” “Happy Christmas, to you all!”…
Father Christmas dictated his letter to Father Evan Ash (who bears a striking resemblance), pastor at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, 168 & Holmes, in Belton.