By Reba Phelps
Being successful in my career requires a lot of networking and relationship building. This totally works for me because of my extra extroverted personality. I count it a joy every single time I get to meet someone new and connect with them. Sometimes friends will become clients or clients become friends. If you play your cards right, and eat all of your vegetables, you can make many friends along the way that don’t have to be classified as either.
I have always felt like it was divine intervention when someone shares their story and experiences with me and I with them. Human connection is precious.
On one particular day I was meeting with a long time friend who had recently beaten cancer. I find myself praying for friends all of the time so I was completely elated when I found out he was in remission and had been able to attend a men’s retreat within his church and look forward to his much anticipated Christmas season.
He is, by gosh and by golly, the most sought after Santa in the South and he had thousands of children depending on him.
As we visited, he went into great detail about what all he had learned and experienced at the men’s retreat and even told me they have a lady’s retreat as well. I could see the peace written all over his face. He had a new light that was brightly shining and it was evident. He had a new lease on life and he wanted everyone to know.
As he was parting he told me about casting my cares on the cross and leaving them there. He learned that once you give something to God, don’t take it back. It was simple yet powerful. It was just a divine meeting of two friends talking about the goodness of God.
A couple of months went by and I would routinely see my Kris Kringle friend on Facebook visiting children in hospitals, showing up in photographs, visiting the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion and making spirits bright. My friend was born for this role and he takes it very seriously.
He has definitely been living his best Santa life.
Sometimes I would catch myself looking with pure amazement at the pictures he would take with children and they were just magical. Not the toddler pictures, they appeared to want to crawl out of their skin. The older kids though, stole my heart. It just brings you back to a time when all was well with the world at Christmas time. Nothing could go wrong or change your view of the holiday season.
Our Christmases tend to change the older we get. We lose loved ones, we have the stress of everyday life, and kids grow up and move on. I find myself fighting off the bah humbugs every single year.
This year was no different.
My Santa friend contacted me on a recent Friday and asked if I was at work that day. He was going to stop by and see me. I was traveling that day so we settled on meeting the following Monday. I could not help but feel excitement knowing that Santa was coming to see me. Who wouldn’t be excited about a personal visit from Santa during his busiest time of the year?
Monday couldn’t get here quick enough. But, something happened over that weekend. The annual pity party I throw myself during the holidays had set in like a heavy dark cloud. The party started eight years ago when my mother died and continued to grow after my divorce and half empty nest. Christmas time can be full of land mines. I was so down I had actually forgotten about Santa coming to town.
Until he came in…. with a wrapped present and a ho ho ho smile that seemed to be sent straight from the North Pole. It is extremely difficult to continue with a pity party when Santa walks into your office with a present. When he handed me the box he wanted me to open it while he was there.
I was trying to be polite and opened it gently but my excitement took over. When the wrapping was removed there sat a simple handmade wooden cross with four nails and a small leather bag with a tie string. As soon as I saw it I knew exactly what he was going to tell me and the tears began to well up.
Remembering our visit earlier that Fall, he reminded me that I was to cast my cares on the cross. The small bag was so I could physically write them on a small piece of paper and leave them in the bag. Had I been in my office the Friday that Santa wanted to come by this cross would have not had the same meaning.
The cross was beautiful and deeply meaningful but my spirits were high that Friday. This cross was saved for me until I needed it the most. The following Monday I was at my lowest point this holiday season and I will forever feel like God sent Santa to deliver this extraordinary gift that is a precious reminder of where we should cast our cares.
Christmases will come and go. Family and friends will come and go but the cross is forever. I am so blessed to have Santa as one of my friends and I will forever believe…. In the cross.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14