A 'Sign' For Santa
It had been a long day. I was tired, and ready to go home.
But, home would have to wait for now. A little Christmas miracle was
just around the corner, waiting to be born.
My wife and I, and our five children had recently moved to the
little Texas town of Overton. We had been involved in the Christian
ministry for years and had been badly hurt by some people we deeply
loved. Spiritually and emotionally bruised and still nursing our
wounds we were not yet ready to re-enter the same type of ministry
again, at least not right away.
Still, for the sake of the kids and so we could get to know some
of the people in our little community we had decided to do some
volunteer work for the local library. It was a way we could give and
feel appreciated in some small way. Today we had helped with a
community Christmas party. I had played the part of Santa.
Now, though, the kids were all gone and it was time for Santa
to go into the back room and transform, once again, into plain old
me. But Christmas miracles don't always abide by our plans and
timetables, not even for the man in red.
Knock, knock, knock.
"Yes," I said, as I finally got out of the old, worn out Santa suit.
It didn't fit right - loose where it should be tight, snug where it
should be baggy. It was unseasonably warm that day. I was soaked with
perspiration, fatigued, and ready to go home.
"Gary, there's a little boy out here who wants to see Santa," my
wife said in her best upbeat voice. "Gary, he's deaf."
I would have put the suit back on for any kid. But, being
disabled myself, and having five disabled children who often feel "left
out", and since I know sign language, well . . . how could I refuse?
"I'll be right there," I said as I started putting back on the stuffy
A few minutes later Santa came out the door and walked up
behind Dewey. The lady who brought him to the library whispered,
"You can just give him some candy and he'll be happy."
Santa simply looked over the rim of his glasses and smiled with
a wink. Taking Dewey by the hand Santa led the young, gleaming
boy to the big chair then plopped him up on Santa's knee.
"What is your name?" Santa asked with his white gloved hands.
Dewey could not answer! He was so shocked that he jumped down
and went to the friend that brought him.
"He signs, He talks like me!" Dewey signed with so much
excitement and enthusiasm that Santa could hardly keep up.
"My name is Santa," Santa signed to Dewey trying, rather
futilely, to keep this young man, somehow, on track. Finally, after
several false starts, Dewey sat still long enough for Santa to have a
real conversation with him.
Santa and Dewey spent the next ten to fifteen minutes talking
about whatever it is that little Dewey wanted to talk about. Then it
was time for Dewey to go home.
As Dewey took his peppermint stick, Santa made the sign for "I
love you" as he smiled at the bouncing little boy with the dancing
eyes. Then Dewey's friend took him by the hand and they walked
out into the darkness of night. But before he walked out the door
Dewey looked back and signed "I love you" back to Santa.
Santa sat there for just a moment. Somehow he didn't seem
so tired anymore. The old suit didn't fit any better, but now it didn't
matter. Somehow the Christmas holidays made a little more sense and
seemed just a bit brighter for the old man in red.
Santa soon became me, again, and I left that night with a joy I
had not known in quite some time. The dark cloud of love betrayed
was lifted, at least for a time, by the tiny, very energetic hands of a
little deaf boy.
I see Dewey and his parents around town from time to time.
He doesn't know who I am, but I know who he is, and what he did for
Dewey's friend works just down the road from where we live.
She keeps me updated on Santa's little friend. This past Christmas
Dewey wasn't able to come to the library to see Santa. So Santa
found out where he lives and went to see Dewey. But Dewey wasn't
home, his parents had taken him out of town for the holidays.
This young man had helped me out of a slump. He had loved
purely and completely. He simply showed his heart as it radiated out
his hand. I had to do something for this little boy. But, what?
Christmas miracles are not easily discouraged. A little thought,
a little creativity, and with the aid of one of Santa's own little
"elves", Santa grabbed the old Polaroid and returned to Dewey the "I
love you" sign he had given the year before. We left it on his door,
and went home for our own Christmas celebration.
I can hardly wait to see what happens this Christmas!
I am a Baptist minister who happens to also be physically disabled.
My wife, Gina, and I home-school our five children. I have long been
interested in writing to inspire and have just recently drummed up the
courage to actually attempt it!
[ by Gary Walden (firstname.lastname@example.org) -- from '2TheHeart' ]
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