Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS
12/24/2017 1:00:00 AM by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

 

Please welcome this very special post by my writing friend … John Brewer

https://www.amazon.com/John-Brewer/e/B001ITPFLG

Toward the end of 1980, I took on a job playing Santa Claus. It was in a shopping mall in Jacksonville, Florida. I would sit on a dais with a throne in the middle and children would come to sit with me and have their pictures taken with Santa. Quite possibly, it was the best job I ever had or would have again. There was something magical about that brief interlude in my life.

            I met parents with newborns who wanted photos and I met octogenarians who were still children at heart and also wanted to commemorate their time with Santa. I had a group of special needs children that came through and frankly, it left me teary. I absolutely loved putting on that red suit and hiding behind the flowing white hair and beard to portray a figure loved by so many.

            As for me, I was lost. I was almost homeless, living in a trailer with no heat, the space granted to me by a friend. Just after Christmas, my truck was repossessed. I was not living a good lifestyle at the time. I was trapped in an underground culture which promoted the seamier side of life. As a funny side note, well maybe not so funny, I would never indulge in smoking, drinking, or drugs before going in to play Santa. To me, there was something sacrosanct about that character and I would not in any way jeopardize it for the kids; they would know if I did. I always played it straight.

            Hiding behind that mask, I discovered what it was like to be loved. Sadly, the love was for the character and not for me. It left a big hole in my heart when Christmas was over and Santa walked out of my life.

 

            During the time I was still in character, my sister drove over from Gainesville and brought me to a function her church was putting on. It was a play about Christmas. People on the street were interviewed about what Christmas meant to them. For some it was the sales, for others, it was skiing up north. A few mentioned time with family and one or two mentioned Santa Claus. Of course, playing the character of Santa Claus gave me the one up on that. The interviewer was not satisfied with all the answers he received. He left saddened. Then the narrator of the play told the real Christmas story, the story of a child in a manger, the savior of mankind, God's greatest gift of all.

            A couple of months later, after that message stewed around in my heart, I came to know the savior of mankind as my own personal savior.

I discovered the love I had been missing and found that God had been steadily wooing me, calling me to fall into His arms. It is not often in life that you get a do-over. Jesus was my do-over. I will be grateful for the rest of my life.

            Now, when Christmas comes around, it holds a place in my heart that is hard to describe. It brings to remembrance pain, sorrow and suffering. It also brings to remembrance unspeakable joy, love and laughter. I remember the whispered longings of the people who came through to sit with Santa. Many were looking only for toys or gifts, others were looking for love, and still, others were looking for meaning to life. Quite a few wanted dreams and hopes to come alive for those close to them. These are all things that the character I portrayed on the throne could only echo back but could never really make come true. In the Christ child, become man, become sacrifice, become savior, I found the one who brings love and makes dreams and hopes come alive.

 

            I wanted to take a moment out to share with my friends, family and loved ones a Christmas story. It is my story. If you need that hope in your life, it could be your story too. Maybe you already know the love of Jesus and this will remind you of how wonderful that is. If you do not know that love but want too, then simply ask. He will hear the slightest whisper and is waiting for you with arms wide open.

Merry Christmas to one and all. John Brewer

 

JOHN’S BIO

I was born the year the Korean War ended and Joseph Stalin died. I was born again at 28 years old. I am grateful for every day that I wake up and the day that I don't wake I will be even more grateful. It is good to know where you are going but while in this world I am given dominion, responsibility, and stewardship so every day I desire to draw closer to God and along the way to enable those around me to do so as well. If I can help one person smile; lift one burdened heart; encourage one person to greater heights and to a closer walk with God then I have fulfilled my purpose. I was given a second chance at life and in the process discovered that Jesus is our Do Over; He is our second chance.

 

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