You see, Santa has always paid a visit to the children and families gathered in that field just off Dixie Hwy.
Every year he comes after we have enjoyed a chilly night and a roaring fire and good food and an always engaging rendition of the story of the baby Jesus being born.
Every year he sits with our children and lets them know that he sees the good in them and he sees there is still more than enough goodness in the world around them; a goodness that turns into giving.
Every year our children have left the McCauley's "back forty" with their tummies full, their friendships renewed, their parents happy and their confidences reassured.
Every year the good that God provides us is translated into stories we can learn and share. Every year we have learned about the goodness of giving.
It was one of those situations you can describe as "don't need fixin' cause it ain't broke."
Word has it that Santa is coming back this year, too. Let's hope he finds the same spirit in us and our children that he has found in previous visits; a spirit to be good, to do good and to give from that goodness.
Word also has it that the Bishop of Myra's story will be told so that our children can understand their own gift giving as part of a long history of Christians helping those in need.
For those of you who can't be with us at the McCauley's here's a summary of the story from Myra:
He lived in a part of the world we now call Turkey. He lived and served the Christians in and around the city of Myra. He was also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him.
The story we tell most often is what he did to help a family with 3 sisters hoping to be married but whose father was not able to afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried. Hearing of the girls' plight, Nicholas decided to help them, but being too modest to help the family in public (or to save them the humiliation of accepting charity), he went to the house under the cover of night and threw three purses (one for each daughter) filled with gold coins through the window opening into the house.For many of us there are connections between Nicholas and Santa. The one that matters most is one about goodness and giving.
If you can, please join us as the children of our parish experience God's "giving of goodness" in the story of Jesus' birth. Or join us as they hear about the "goodness of giving" in the story of the Bishop of Myra and write their own story in their own support of the Circle of Love. Or join us and stay for a visit from Santa himself.