Waking Up on Christmas

At the Gates of Eden

At seven-and-a-half years old, Anna was losing her faith in Christmas, humanity, and even God. First, all her coevals at school laughed at her when she mentioned Santa. Her friend Amy told her that believing in Santa Claus was for babies, and that everyone’s daddy really puts the presents under the tree. Then, when she asked her older brother Tim about it, he said that the whole Christmas story was just made up from older stories, and it’s really about the Winter Solstice. “The tilt is the reason for the season,” he said.

She made up her mind to stay awake on Christmas Eve, and settle this once and for all. Why would mommy and daddy lie to her all these years? It seemed like everything she’d ever learned was now in question. What else is just a lie?

Christmas Eve finally came, and Anna was determined not to fall asleep. She picked up the Bible Santa had brought her last Christmas, and flipped it open, half-heartedly hoping to find some reassuring words. …and he placed on the East Gate of the Garden of Eden, a cherubim with a flaming sword, flashing it back and forth to guard the way….

She shut the book and laid back, listening…

Suddenly, a loud noise from downstairs woke her up. It was 1:34 AM. She had drifted off. She slipped out of bed, and crept downstairs. There, in the living room, stood Santa, red suit and all, larger than life. His huge bag of toys was next to the tree. “Daddy?” she whispered.

Santa turned around, and put a finger to his lips. “Shhh,” was all he said, and she flew back up the stairs. As she walked by her parent’s bedroom, she stopped. Was it really Santa, or daddy all dressed up? The big beard had hid most of his face, and he could’ve had pillows under his suit. There was only one way to settle it. She opened the door.

There lay daddy, snoring away as usual. The kids at school were wrong, after all, and her brother Tim was a fool. It was all real! Santa Claus, the Bethlehem story of Jesus’s birth — all of it was real! Someone’s in for a surprise, she thought. Now, she couldn’t wait to wake up for Christmas.

Feeling secure and at peace with the world again, she went back to bed and drifted off, a little smile on her lips. Meanwhile, the Santa Claus Burglar walked out her front door with all her Christmas presents, among other things.

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