When I think of Christmas, I’m often reminded of the fourth year after my family moved to Oregon from Indiana. I was only eight-years-old at the time. I was almost at the point where I did not believe in Santa Claus, but not quite.
Mom and Dad were faithful each year to remind their three daughters of the true meaning of Christmas. I appreciate that. But I being the youngest wanted to still believe in good Old St. Nick too even though my older sisters did their best to convince me otherwise.
Their form of convincing, unfortunately, was not too pleasing to my parents, but they managed still to get my family to decide to open gifts Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning. I also remember how excited my sisters were about that but how disappointed I was.
How, I wondered, would Santa Claus know to come to our house if we finished our celebration early? If I know me I might have reasoned with my sisters that it would make it awful hard.
They, in response, must’ve laughed at me or scoffed at me, for that was their usual reactions to anything I said. Besides, they were pretty determined it was time I grew up and become mature (like them).
The night finally came, and we began opening our presents just as planned. Suddenly, we heard this pouncing sound going on somewhere up on our roof.
Mom and Dad jumped up and ran to the window and said something like, “Could that be Santa Claus?”
Their comments didn’t only excite me, they got my sisters (who were now ten and thirteen) intrigued and filled with the utmost curiosity.
Especially, since they weren’t supposed to believe in “childish” stuff like that.
Mom and Dad ran through the kitchen and went hurrying up the stairs in the direction of the sounds. There was a porch roof there outside the window.
When we got there behind them, sure enough, out on the roof were several new presents including a beautiful (in my eyes) white chair wrapped with a giant red bow and just my size.
My dad reached out and grabbed the gifts and brought my chair into me a wide smile on his face. I could see both my sisters with shocked looks on their faces. I remember laughing and telling them, “SEE! I TOLD YOU SANTA CLAUS IS REAL!”
After grabbing my chair and giving it a hug, I knew my Christmas was complete. In fact, it became the one Christmas I took to memory. Maybe it was because that year (decades ago) was one of the only times in my growing up life I got to convince my sisters they just might be wrong.
Was it Santa Claus? Hmm.
I will always know the true meaning of Christmas brings attention to the Lord. I teach that to my family. I also know He is the one who needs to be emphasized. I teach that too.
But in the back of my mind to this day I have to admit there was someone on my roof that night. Interesting how no one has ever said who.
Since both my parents are now with the Lord and can’t tell me I guess I’ll have to wait to find out. That’s okay.
Right now, I’m having more fun watching my sisters who still scratch their heads in wonder. What’s worse, they have to live with the fact a little eight-year-old sister got something over on them without even trying to…even if it was only once.
Shirley Kiger Connolly
Shirley is a graduate of Institute of Children’s Literature. When not penning historical fiction romances laced with nuggets of inspiration or journaling reflections aimed at readers in search of lighthearted encouragement, Shirley serves as teacher and speaker to women’s groups or schools, writes Bible study curriculum for various retreat and workshops, and is a feature writer for local community organizations and several online women’s Christian groups. Shirley stays actively involved with numerous writers’ groups: American Christian Fiction Writers: Hearts through History Chapter of Romance Writers of America; and Faith-Hope-Love, RWA, among others. She and her husband live on the southern tip of Oregon and have three raised children.
I See God in the Thorns-n-Thistles by Shirley Connolly
When your heart is burdened and you’re experiencing times of trial, where do you turn? When you’re challenged by the complexities of life, the afflictions, the tests, and the tragedies, do you run to or from God? If you run toward Him, do you try to see what He’s teaching you?
God remains with you not only in the simple circumstances but also during the toughest times of your life. You’re never alone, and I See God in the Thorns~n~Thistles offers you, in independent devotions, a way to make the most out of the troubles, a way to draw closer to God because, and oftentimes in spite of, your pain.
Life-changing lessons like these not only help us on our personal journeys, they teach us to have compassion for others who we learn need it more. Isn’t that what life’s all about for the believer?
Shirley Connolly will be giving away a copy of her new devotional book I See God in the Thorns-n-Thistles. Here are the contest rules: