Joshua kicked the pebble along the beach while salty sea spray from the
ocean, blew a fine mist over his jacket. He held the camera to his eye and
snapped a picture. Joshua then looped the camera over his wrist, continuing
his stroll down the beach. Moments later, he rounded the corner. A boulder
blocked the path. With tentative steps, he tiptoed across the wet sand and
drew up short. “Santa?”
A man in red
pants, black flip flops and a white beard stared at the ocean. “No,” he
sighed, “I’m not Santa.”
“Yes you are!”
Joshua plopped down next to the man. “I’m a kid. We’re born with the
knowledge of knowing who Santa is.”
“But I’m not
Arching his brow,
Joshua said, “Yes you are. You have the beard, spectacles, and red pants.”
Santa shoved the
spectacles further on his nose before blurting out, “I retired.”
“Now don’t have a
fit on me. I said I retired.”
“But you can’t
retire,” cried Joshua.
“I can and did.”
Santa inhaled the sea air while running the soft granules of sand through
comforting hand on Santa’s shoulder, Joshua whispered, “Why did you quit?
Are we all bad?”
filled gaze met Joshua’s. “No, that’s not why.”
“Then what was
about the true Christmas spirit.” Santa wiped the tears that fell unchecked
beneath his sunglasses. “Children worry more about ‘receiving’ than
Joshua tapped his
foot while chewing on his bottom lip. “If I can show you ‘true Christmas
spirit’, will you go back to being ‘Santa’ again?”
Santa stared at
the ground. “I’ve lost all hope.”
“Well don’t. Once
we go back home after Thanksgiving, I will restore your faith in Christmas,
but how will you know if I have any?”
appeared in Santa’s gaze. “I’m Santa…remember? Trust me, I’ll know.”
While Santa ran
his hand thorough his beard, Joshua leaned closer to Santa and snapped a
picture of the both of them. “Say cheese!”
Santa shook his
head as the flash from the bulb temporarily blinded him. “Give me the
“Because, no one
can know who I am.”
and handed over the camera. “Bit late for that, isn’t it?”
Santa arched a
brow as he tucked the camera into his pocket.
around the two as Joshua leapt to his feet and ran down the beach. Turning
to wave, he called out, “See you later Santa…and have a Merry Christmas!”
Santa grinned and
waved at the boy’s retreating back.
returned home, he shoveled snow from the neighbor’s driveway, and sidewalks.
At breakfast the next day, he said to his parents, “I want to volunteer and
read stories to the elderly at the retirement home.” So every Saturday,
Joshua brought his favorite book, and read to the elderly for several hours.
On his way to
school, he passed several houses with their newspapers in the street, so he
set them on the porch steps for easier access. A neighbor struggled with
several bags of groceries and he helped her carry them into the house.
“That was mighty
nice of you young man. Would you like a five dollar bill for the help?”
“No thank you
ma’am. I just wanted to help out.”
When the teacher
needed help cleaning the chalkboard, Joshua volunteered. If the gym teacher
needed help putting the equipment away after class, Joshua was there to
provide assistance. The neighbor’s, teachers, and Joshua’s friends all
noticed a change in his behavior. When the people saw Joshua helping others,
they would also volunteer. Joshua’s ‘giving’ spirit was infectious.
The day before
Christmas, Joshua snuggled under the covers. His mother and father kissed
him on the cheek before heading off to bed.
said Joshua’s mother.
Christmas,” said Joshua’s father.
Once his parents
were in bed, Joshua crept down the stairs and waited on the couch as he held
a plate of cookies for Santa. Hours passed by before he nodded off.
The sound of
laughter woke Joshua from his slumber. He sat with a start and rubbed the
sleep from his eyes. Presents wrapped in silver tissue paper filled the
room. He ran to the table and read the note left from Santa.
Thanks for making me believe
again. Hope you enjoy the gifts.
“What is all that noise,” said Joshua’s mother.
“Just a visit from a friend.” He turned to his mom. “Can we give the
presents to needy children?”
With disbelief sounding in her voice, she said, “Are you sure you want to
give everything away?”
“All but this gift. This one I want to keep.” Joshua held a framed picture
of the photo he snapped of Santa on the beach. He whispered, “Thanks Santa.”