Letter to Santa

In the mid-1990’s I took a job with the post office in Alaska. One of my favorite volunteer duties was answering letters to Santa. I purchased stamps and postcards and wrote a little note to the recipient, then had them postmarked at North Pole. One season a letter arrived from New York, New York. The writer had beautiful penmanship, and even though her first language wasn’t English, she succinctly stated her reason for writing. Her two children needed clothing. She listed their sizes and also expressed the need for food in their home. I knew I couldn’t respond with well wishes to this mother, but how could I help from thousands of miles away?
That evening, I prayed for this family, and then turned on the computer. I scrolled through lists of churches before an idea hit me — if I found one in her zip code, I could call them and share the need. Because of the different time zones I waited until the next day at lunch to make the call. After three rings, a man answered the phone. “Hello, this is Pastor (name withheld).”
“Pastor, my name is Elisa, and this will be a strange call, so please bear with me.”
He cleared his throat. “Okay. What can I do for you?”
“I work for the post office in Alaska and yesterday a letter arrived from your zip code.” I read the letter to him. “So, you can see I couldn’t very well send a postcard with well wishes. Do you think this is something your church would like to take care of? I could fax you the letter.” He asked for the address and I read it to him.
“That’s two blocks away from our church! Yes, fax me the letter because we meet in less than an hour and I know my folks will be excited to take care of this. We can buy clothes and food and gifts and deliver it to her apartment. This is the perfect Christmas opportunity!”
My heart nearly floated when I imagined this family’s response when God showed up at their door after they’d sent a letter to Santa. I never called back to find out what happened. God had put that letter in my hands and I did my part, then passed it on to let others to take joy in being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Missing Jesus

Over the years I’ve read stories and seen Christmas movies in which they inevitably find a missing baby Jesus. (One year in my own home Jesus was missing from the nativity set. We eventually located Him in bubble wrap.)

One morning as my husband and I snuggled on the love-seat reading the Bible together, I got to thinking about that missing Jesus.

“You know that’s not the first time Jesus has gone missing,” I said, totally off the topic we were reading. “Jesus went missing as a child and his frantic parents retraced their steps to find him — in his Father’s house. Where else?” (Luke 2:42-46.) I must note that I find it interesting that he’d been missing for three days.

Jesus went missing after healing a man on the Sabbath. (John 5:1-13)

Jesus also went missing when an angry crowd intended to do him harm. (Luke 4:28)

And let’s not forget the big one when Jesus went missing again — from the tomb. (Where he had been for three days.) (Luke 20:2)

It seems Jesus has a record of missing, yet He said if we want to find Him, all we have to do is seek Him. (Luke 11:9)

My pondering and the discussion with my husband about Jesus missing brought me to a question. Can people find Jesus in me? In how I speak, in how I conduct myself, in how I love others? Or would they say Jesus has gone missing again? I prayed that Jesus’ presence would always be clear in my life and that it would draw others to Him through me.

This fall my husband had a surgery that went well, but nine days later he ended up in the hospital with complications. In two months they hospitalized him three times, ran many scans, tests, procedures, and he ended up with a raging infection. Through this period our prayer was that we would walk with grace and glorify God — no matter what. At one point we both thought he might not have another day on the earth, but he pulled through. The big thing we had to focus on — we know God is with us no matter our circumstances. We know He has a plan for us. And we know He loves us.

We desire to live in a way that examples that love, and to share it with those He sends into our lives, whether it be a neighbor or even a medical care provider. We want to point people to Jesus.