I’ve had something of a grudge against old Mr. Santa Claus. My parents introduced me to Santa Claus, who informed me that he was the one who brought all my Christmas presents on Christmas day. And I believe my parents.
I remember that on Christmas Eve we had to go to bed early to give Santa time to deliver our gifts under the tree. It was hard to sleep so early on Christmas Eve knowing that Santa was coming with Christmas presents. Finally, we fell asleep only to wake up on Christmas day with the tree full of our Christmas presents.
I did not learn the true identity of Santa Claus until many years later.
I was six years old when my parents first took me to see Santa Claus. I stood in line and waited my turn to climb onto his lap and tell him what he wanted for Christmas. That first Christmas, I told Santa that all he wanted for Christmas was a pony. Just a pony.
At that time, he told me that it was a good wish and that he would see to it that I received my Christmas present when I needed it. He was so excited when I jumped off his lap that I went over to my parents and told them that Santa was getting me a pony for Christmas.
Looking at me, my parents just smiled, patted my head and said, “Okay, it’s time to go home now.”
That was two weeks before Christmas, and during those two weeks, I was ecstatic about that pony coming over because my parents always told me that Santa never lies. So I can trust him as much as I can trust them. That turned out to be true.
That Christmas Eve, I could hardly go to bed. Once in bed, I couldn’t keep my eyes closed thinking about that wonderful pony that Santa would give me as a Christmas present. He kept thinking about the name he would use for that pony. He had half a dozen names; it just tinkled in my mind.
This was going to be the best Christmas I’d ever have.
I don’t know how I did it, but I finally fell asleep and dreamed about my Christmas pony.
When I woke up that Christmas morning, I was so excited I could barely get out of bed fast enough. So I ran downstairs to the Christmas tree, expecting to see my Christmas pony. When I didn’t see it, I asked my parents where it was. All they could say was, “Well, we haven’t seen it. Maybe it’s just late.”
Before we could open our gifts, we had to go to breakfast, and we tried to do it as quickly as possible. Then after breakfast we were able to go to the Christmas tree and open our Christmas presents as a family.
I was a bit depressed that my little Christmas pony was nowhere to be seen.
There was no explanation for that. All she could do was hope that maybe it would come true next year.
“Well, son,” my father told me as seriously as possible, “maybe your Christmas pony will come next year. So let’s wait.”
That was a long year for me. So every month that passed, I thought about that Christmas pony.
Then, finally, December came into view. I started to get excited about my Christmas pony because this year was probably the year. Last year she was only six, but this year she was a full seven, old enough to care for a Christmas pony.
Again, my parents took my brothers and me downtown to see Santa Claus. I lined up with my brother and sister, eagerly awaiting the moment to face Mr. Santa Claus.
Then it was my turn, I walked over to Santa, sat on his lap and started the conversation.
The first thing I said was, “Santa, the Christmas pony you promised last year never came. Why didn’t it come?”
I didn’t realize this was a different person; I just thought she was Santa Claus. He looked at me and said, “Ho ho ho, I’m not sure why he didn’t come, but I’ll check it out and see if he got lost on the way from the North Pole, ho ho ho.”
So I told him what I wanted for Christmas, and all he wanted was a Christmas pony. He assured me that he would check this out and make sure my Christmas horse arrived on time this year. Then he said, “Just have faith, ho ho ho.”
This continued for the next ten years and to this day I have never seen that Christmas pony. So I started to think that maybe that old Santa Claus was fake.
As I thought about this, I remembered a verse of Scripture. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him: If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).
The only truth is that which comes from the word of God. I know this verse is often taken out of context, or only half given. When I discovered the truth of God’s word, I freed myself from everything else in the world.