Out of the Mouths of Babes
I had completed my annual visit as Santa at the Christmas Carousel in Raleigh and had changed into my casual Santa clothes to have dinner at a local steak house with my family and friends. It had been a long day of delightful visits with children visiting the show, after which we had to dismantle our exhibit booth and load it into our “U-Haul Sleigh” and frankly I was exhausted and was looking forward to enjoying a relaxing meal.
Across from our table was a family of five who seemed to be delighted that “Santa Claus was in the building!” Don’t take me wrong, I love being recognized as Santa no matter where I go, but I also want to give people their privacy and not impose my obvious love for the season on them unless I know they are open to a conversation.
As I finished my meal, I felt comfortable that this family would enjoy a short impromptu visit from Santa Claus, so I excused myself from my guests and walked over to the table where the family was seated. I introduced myself to the children and one by one asked their age and what they wanted for Christmas. The oldest girl was nine and she relayed her wishes to me after which her seven year old sister told me what she wanted. Then their five year old brother chimed in with his wish list.
As the children finished their lists, the seven year old girl turned around and looked straight into my eyes and asked, “Santa, do you know Jesus?” I guess she thought that since I lived at the North Pole, that was about as close to Heaven as a person could be and that perhaps Jesus and I were friends. I replied, “I sure do know Jesus, in fact He is the reason we celebrate Christmas! See I even have a Nativity scene here on my Santa ring. I took off my ring and showed it to the little girl as her parents looked on and said, “See, isn’t that what we have been telling you?”
With this most important fact established I wished everyone a very Merry Christmas and returned to my waiting guests at our own table. As I related our conversation to my wife and other guests it occurred to me, “Why can’t it be that simple!? Why can’t we be like that little girl and ask people we encounter if they know Jesus?” Sadly I realized that we often make excuses not to come right out and share our faith with others, often out of fear of rejection or a concern that we may offend someone.
Frankly, a little seven year old red-haired girl taught me a valuable lesson this year. In the future I’m going to try to ask more people, “Do you know Jesus?”