I have multiple events that I attend as Santa each year. As of this moment, 2017 holds 39 events in 30 days. Throw in the potential things waiting to gel, it’s 42. Add in the stuff in the previous three months and we pack it up to 45 places where I’ve showed up as Santa so far in 2017. But one customer, one set of friends, is the most special to me: Hope Kids. (Read on, but if you’re looking for an end-of-the-year-charitable-donation to make, this is the best outfit I work with that takes care of children and families.)
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Recently I attended the holiday party for these families at The Tradition Companies. The party, sponsored by these fine people and Chick-fil-A of Bloomington, MN, brings together families of some very amazing children who are facing serious illness. The sponsors get a wish list from the children, and provide the items in beautifully wrapped packages that that old ham, Santa, gets to hand out and take the credit for the nicety.
I have been working with Hope Kids for a long time. It touches me in ways that I am hard-pressed to convey to you. I am pretty sure that it comes down to bravery, cheerful brightness, and strength in God during a very hard time for the families. Wednesday night was no exception.
Part way through the process of taking pictures, talking to small people, praying with big people, and handing out gifts, one of the staff of Hope Kids asked a little girl how it was going. Her response, “This is better than awesome”, was provided with 100% sincerity. Because it was better than awesome.
We live in a society where people with wealth, and corporations, are pretty uniformly viewed as miserly takers. I can stand in behalf of several major businesses, and a whole lot of wealthy individuals, and attest to their kindness, care, and largess. This was more than a party with some trinkets. This was more than a great meal of foods that kids enjoyed. This was a celebration of the lives of these families. This was a moment of joy, and unreserved emotion, in a situation that would bring the best of us to our knees.
I will not carry on much longer, but one family stood out from the crowd last night. I was so impressed with the loving kindness they all lavished on their son that it humbled me more than a bit. I’d seen them over the past few months/years in different lights as Santa. Always working to make the boy a central part of the events. I found out last night that this was his final visit to see Santa. His final Christmas. He was entering the hospice phase of his life after the party.
I get choked up when I think about the love, and loss, that this family will experience this season. I am honored to be a small part of that love. I am blessed to volunteer with an organization like Hope Kids, and that I get to know the people of the Tradition Companies and Chick-fil-A in the course of these events. I am so very lucky to be healthy myself.
Please take a moment now, before you click the mouse, to pray for these families and ask God to give them strength and comfort this Christmas/Hanukkah season. Give generously to Hope Kids if your heart is moved to do so. And, perhaps most importantly, cherish those you love today. They, and the future, are not promised to any of us in this world.
Stop by for more music on Friday, and on Christmas day there will be a special short story up here for all the fans of Santa. Written in the style of Bobby Kurtz.
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Assault on Saint Agnes is available here. Just click this link!
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