I am going to hunt you down.
The thoughts of a cell phone commercial ran through my head as a little girl who we call Mo came running toward me with her arms held out in front of her. She was yelling, “Santa, Santa I have to give you a hug before you leave.”
We had our first “Breakfast with Santa” at the Clark County Family YMCA this past Saturday.
It was an event where we cooked pancakes for the families and then took pictures of the kids sitting with Santa. We had quite the turnout and everyone had a great time. Rhapsody church descended on us with an amazing volunteer team that took all the pressure off Lindsey (The membership supervisor/Child Watch supervisor) and an old chaplain. They helped with the setup, cooking, bussing of tables, registration, photo booth, teardown, and cleanup. Jamba Juice served donated smoothies.
I played Santa.
I sat in the “Santa Chair” talking with kids, asking them what they wanted for Christmas. We had the usual requests, Lego’s, dolls, puppies, kittens…Then came one 5-year-old boy. He came and sat on my lap. He said, “I know there is no Santa.” I said, “Why don’t you think there is a Santa?” He said, “I just had my birthday and I did not get any presents. My mom doesn’t have any money.” She already told me not to expect anything for Christmas.”
The Clark County Family YMCA partners with the Salvation Army during Christmas. We have a giving tree that has many tags on it. Every tag represents a child. Every tag represents a child that will not get a Christmas present if someone does not take a tag off the tree, by the gift, and bring it back to the YMCA so that we can deliver the gift to the Salvation Army. Last year we gave Christmas presents to over 200 kids in need. This year we will double that amount.
Santa looked at the boy, then at the tree. Santa had a face to put with a tag. Santa had a child sitting in his lap that will not get a Christmas present.
Santa asked the boy, “What do you want for Christmas?”
The little boy told Santa his wish.
Santa is a sly elf. He found out where the boy lives. Santa found the caregiver that brought the little boy to Breakfast with Santa.
This little boy is going to have quite a Christmas this year.
Sometimes a chaplain sits with a grieving mother or father.
Sometimes a chaplain works with a family that is broken.
Sometimes a chaplain reads books to the kids that come into Child Watch.
Sometimes a chaplain is Santa and can give the gift of hope to a child that at the age of 5 has already lost it.
I had just walked out of Child Watch after being Santa to the kids in there when Mo ran up and said, “I have to give you a hug before I go.” You see, she had seen that Santa was not in his chair anymore and had dragged her mother all over the YCMA looking for Santa. Mo found Santa and gave him a hug.
Sometimes even Santa needs a hug.