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It’s a good thing Santa generally makes his visits at night. A lot of us would be in trouble if the old man came knocking while we were awake – and brought hard questions instead of a bag filled with gifts.
I’d be rather poorly prepared to find Santa at my door, with those all-knowing nods of the chin and probing eyes. I’d probably pretend not to be home and ignore the knocks and jingle bells.
I missed seeing St. Nicholas Thursday night, even though he made it to New Boston despite the sleet and freezing rain.
But Santa being, well Santa, would probably let himself in and wait for me to emerge from the basement. In fact that’s the exact location my niece thinks I would hear Santa, shoveling a bushel of coal through a window next to my furnace.
She may be right. I’ve not done much in preparation for Christmas. I’ve yet to put up a tree, although I have a small one made from aluminum and faux red berries on a table nearby. I haven’t baked the first holiday dish and haven’t visited the grocery store for my contributions to gatherings I’ve been invited to.
But instead of checking out the decorations or opening the cookie jar, Santa might very well hand me his empty bag and ask me to fill it with some of what I have to spare.
Might Santa open my refrigerator or kitchen cabinets and ask what I’ve given to the hungry, then load up his red sack with cans of chili, peanut butter, the cherry-mint ice cream I only eat around Christmas and my favorite little smokies?
How would we react if Santa arrived not packing gifts but asking us to share our surplus? Santa might run off with my TV remote or the key to the liquor cabinet as well as my snacks.
“Does the joy of Christmas have to come with 200-plus channels or cocktails?” Santa might ask, half mad but equally concerned.
He might order me to read a book or visit family instead of watching A Christmas Story for the 1,000th time. He might even tell me to go to church or visit those who have no family and help those in need.
Might Santa even throw back my warm flannel sheets come Christmas morn, put a boot to my backside and remind me of those who suffer cold or who have to labor outside to cut firewood instead of simply turning up the thermostat? Maybe he should. Santa, given the time, might want to teach us a lot more than how to give presents.
Everyone who cares about the holiday knows Christmas isn’t about flashing lights and wrapping paper. It’s a lot more about faith, family and remembering our obligations to others, and not just those we know and love.
What would Santa say to you if he knocked on your door?