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Hugs for GrandparentsStories, Sayings, and Scriptures to Encourage and Inspire
By Larry Keefauver
Howard BooksCopyright © 1998 Larry Keefauver
All right reserved.
Each Christmas my grandparents
came from Tennessee to celebrate the holidays with us. No one
could cook like Grandmother. I loved sitting in the kitchen and
talking with her as she baked all of her favorite holiday recipes
- especially the Christmas cookies. If I was really good,
she'd let me stir the cookie dough and lick the spoon. I
will never forget the wonderful aromas and wisdom-filled talks we
When I was old enough to go to
school, I met new friends who seemed to know things far beyond
anything ever revealed by my parents. One boy told me where
babies came from, but his story sounded a little fishy. Why would
storks go to all that trouble? A girl revealed to me why boys and
girls were different: She secretly whispered that we were
different so that girls could wear dresses - but boys had to
wear pants. Gosh, I never wanted to wear a dress anyway!
But the most disturbing
revelation of all came from my best friend, Buddy - and
Buddy never lied to me. Buddy told me that there was no such
person asSanta Claus. I couldn't believe it. Every year
Santa had come faithfully to our house on Christmas Eve, leaving
me great presents and eating the cookies and drinking the milk I
left by the tree.
But Buddy told me that Santa
was really my parents. I was shaken to the core. What a terrible
Christmas it would be if Santa were really Mom and Dad! So one
day after school, as I sat in the kitchen helping Grandmother
bake cookies, I got up the nerve to ask her. I knew she
wouldn't lie, and she seemed so old and wise that surely she
knew everything - especially about Santa Claus.
"Grandmom, will you tell
me the truth if I ask you something?" I ventured.
"If I know the answer, I
will," she replied as she handed me a spoon filled with
sugar cookie dough to lick clean.
"Well, my friend Buddy
told me that there is no real Santa Claus. He said Santa is just
Mom and Dad. Is that true?" I asked, holding my breath for
"Hmmm." She paused
as she wiped her flour-covered hands on her handmade apron, which
was brightly decorated with Christmas trees, stars, presents, and
bears - she loved teddy bears. "I can't answer for
sure. I'm really not an expert on Santa Claus. But I suggest
that we just wait and see what happens this year. Watch your
parents closely; never let them out of your sight. And if
presents do appear under the tree and you don't see your
parents put them there, then Santa must be real for you."
Her eyes seemed to have an unusually bright twinkle in them as
she turned back toward the oven to take out the next batch of
Her plan made perfect sense. I
plotted to stay up all night on Christmas Eve and watch the tree
from the crack under my bedroom door. I had a direct line of
vision from my room, and I knew how I could make myself stay
awake - I would drink lots of Coke.
Every Christmas Eve our family
went to a candlelight service at church that ended at midnight.
My grandparents never went with us because it was too late for
them; they always retired around 10:00 each evening. As usual,
the service was beautiful, but all I could think about was
staying awake. I had hidden a few bottles of Coke under my bed to
help me. I prayed really hard that God would help me too.
That Christmas I was hoping to
get a new bike. I knew my chances were slim, but I still held out
hope. Since I had been really good, I felt that just maybe Santa
would grant my request.
Walking in the front door at
12:30 a.m. on Christmas Day, I had one thought in mind: Go
directly to my room and drink a Coke in order to stay awake. As I
walked past the Christmas tree, a quick glance out of the side of
my eye brought me to a screeching halt. There, in front of the
tree, was the most beautiful red Flyer bike I had ever seen. I
was stunned. Apparently, Santa had come while I was at church
with my family. I checked the cookies and milk, and sure enough
- all that was left of the cookies was a few crumbs, and the
milk glass was empty.
I couldn't believe it.
All my doubts about Santa vanished. My bike had training wheels,
so I just sat on it for a while, dreaming about riding it down
our street in just a few hours. I wanted so badly to tell my
grandparents, but Mom insisted I not bother them since they were
asleep. In ecstasy, I slipped into bed and said my prayers,
remembering to thank God for Santa Claus and my new Ryder bike.
The next morning, I proudly
showed my new bike to my grandparents, and I noticed that bright
twinkle in Grandmom's eye again. As our Christmas tradition
dictated, we gathered around the living room and read the story
of Christ's birth from the book of Luke. Then each of us
shared something we were thankful for: Mom and Dad expressed
gratitude to God for blessing them with children; Grandmom and
Grandfather thanked God for seeing their grandchildren filled
with joy; and me, I just praised God for Santa and my new bike.
Gently, Grandmom added, "Remember, the joy of Jesus'
birth is a much greater joy than any present you will ever get
under the tree."
So, for one more year, a
child's innocence had been preserved against the onslaught
of a cynical world. True, such a trivial thing means little in
the annals of history, but it meant everything to me that night.
As a teenager, I finally learned the truth. While the family was
away at church, Grandfather had assembled my bike while Grandmom
had looked on approvingly, eating cookies and sipping milk. And a
few hours later, they sat peering through the crack beneath their
bedroom door to witness the surprise and joy of their grandson.
I was shocked that my perfect,
God-fearing grandparents had planned and pulled off such a
deceitful conspiracy. Yet my shock was only momentary. I
recognized their deep love in their desire to see me experience
wonder and joy at Christmas. And I had matured to the point of
understanding that the gift of God's love in Jesus truly was
the greatest gift of all. And that gift was reflected ever so
brightly in Grandmom and Grandfather.
Excerpted from Hugs for Grandparents by Larry Keefauver Copyright © 1998 by Larry Keefauver. Excerpted by permission.
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