Updated: May 5, 2019
The Spirit of Santa
by Sue Methuen
It was a cold crisp December morning when little Matthew boarded the bus for school. His mom smiled as she watched him settle in his seat and chat with his grade one friends as the bus drove off. It had been a hard year with the recent divorce and new routine of going back-and-forth between his mom and dad’s house. It warmed her heart to see him laughing again.
Christmas would be different this year. Money was tight and they wouldn’t be all together, but she was determined to do everything she could to make it special. Together they would bake cookies, make decorations and watch all the kid’s Christmas shows on TV. She had been saving every spare dollar she could to buy a special gift. Santa would not miss their house if she had anything to do with it.
It was soon 3 PM, and Mom hurried to the school bus stop. As Matthew slowly came off the bus, he was a very different child from the happy go-lucky boy of the morning. He looked so unhappy.
“What’s wrong Honey?” she asked, “Did something happen at school today?”
Matthew’s response was a quiet, “No”.
It was obvious that there was something wrong. The boy who normally skipped home and chatted away about his day was now walking slowly, head down with the saddest expression on his face.
Throughout the evening, from dinner to play time, Matthew did not say anything. Finally, it was time for bed. Mom sat down beside him and began to read his favorite bedtime story. It was all about Santa Claus and how he would come down the chimney on Christmas Eve leaving gifts for all the good little girls and boys.
Matthew burst into tears. Mom drew him into a hug and gently said, “Tell me what’s wrong Honey. Maybe I can help.”
“No, you can’t!” exclaimed Matthew. “The kids at school told me the truth. There is no Santa!”
Mom’s heart broke hearing this. Matthew had such a rough year. He didn’t need to have this magic taken away from him at so young an age.
Then she had an idea. She would tell him the truth while leaving in just a bit of the magic.
“Matthew, that’s simply not true. There is a Santa’” Mom explained. “In the old days, people called him Saint Nicholas and he delivered gifts to many families on Christmas Eve. The problem is that the world is so big and there are so many people - he needs a little help. On Christmas Eve, the spirit of Saint Nicholas enters the hearts of every mom and dad. Then if he can’t make it to a house, they take over and do his work for him. So you see, Santa truly comes to every home on Christmas.”
Matthews tear-filled face looked up at his mom as he took in what she had said. Slowly a smile grew on his face.
“Oh mommy, I’m so happy. This is going to be the best Christmas ever!” Matthew exclaimed as he threw his arms around her neck.
They hugged for a long time until Matthew fell asleep. As she tucked him in and turned out the lights, she smiled softly to herself. It would be a great Christmas.
After all, Santa would be coming. And that was indeed the truth.