I met Santa years ago. After working late at one of the malls on a Saturday night he came to worship. 

After the service I invited him for a cup of coffee in the Social Hall.  I asked him how things were going.  He told me about a little girl who had come to see him in the mall.  As she climbed up on to his lap he could see that she was crying.  “Now, now,” he said, “It’s okay.  Just tell me what you want for Christmas.”  This little girl, a seven-year-old, was the picture of perfection.  Her hair was wonderfully styled.  Her clothes were obviously very expensive and they fit just perfectly so.  She looked like she had just walked out of the Nordstrom catalogue.  Again Santa asked, “Please tell me what you would like me to bring you for Christmas.”  She answered, “But Santa,” the tears were still in her eyes, “You don’t understand.  I already have everything.  I HAVE everything.  Now I won’t get Christmas.”

This girl may not realize it but she is longing for the deep truth that is revealed on Christmas Day.  Her tears of sadness will someday be tears of joy when she discovers that what she really wants for Christmas is something you cannot buy at the mall.  It isn’t something you can order online or find in a case at the jewelry store.  Her tears are a symbol of something new happening in her life. 

She has discovered the desire for what Henri Nouwen calls the VACARE DEO, room for God.  There may be sadness and sorrow but in her yearning for something more she will find the VACARE DEO, space for the Lord.

I suspect her tears are shared by many of us.  I love Christmas and all of the gift giving and partying and running to and fro but what I really want, what I desire more than anything else, is a sacred and holy reminder that God is present in my life. 

How do we find that holiness?  Almost always it comes in our ability to serve and love those around us.  Jean Val Jean sang about this very thing in the musical Les Miserables.  “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

This year go to the parties and go shopping and go do whatever you do at Christmas and then find a minute to think of the ones you love.  Make room for that moment and in that mystical place, look deeply into the face of God.

Grace and peace to you,