I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Christmas Memory

Once upon a time there was a little girl who awoke early one Christmas Eve and found that Santa had yet to arrive.

My daughter.

“Mommy, Daddy. Santa didn’t come.” My little girl pushed out her lower lip as I glanced at the clock.

Four a.m.

My husband and I pulled ourselves from our slumber and realized we had fallen asleep while waiting for the right time to slip the many packages under the tree, eat the cookies so ceremoniously set out the night before, and stuff the stockings that hung from the mantle on the fireplace.

Always quick with a reply, my husband said. “Santa must have been very busy last night. He’s probably just late.”

I let out a long sigh and wondered how the gifts stashed in our closet would make it under the tree since she was now very much awake.

With a twinkle in his eye my husband said. “I'll tuck you back into bed for a little bit. I’m sure he’ll be here before long.”

Gee. Thanks hon.

He carried her into her room and tucked her into bed then went through the usual routine of surrounding her with a dilapidated Cabbage Patch doll, her favorite bunny, and an assortment of other well-loved stuffed animals. As I, Santa's newly nominated helper, went straight to work.

Just before I deposited the last few gifts under the tree, I gave the leather strap adorned with jingle bells a tug.

“I hear him!” My daughter’s voice drifted in from her room.

“Go look.” My husband, the tempter, said.

“Can I?”

I smiled. What kid wouldn’t want to see ole’ Saint Nick hard at work--especially one still young enough to want to believe.

“Sure, go ahead.” My hubby tempted her again.

Silence hung in the air for an instant. I could almost hear the debate going on in her head.

“What if he sees me?” She asked.

I could hear the wanting in her voice. The desire to see the jolly elf and the fear that if she did…then what? I choked back a chuckle and played into the ongoing conversation by rattling the doors on our fireplace.

“He IS here!”

“Go peek through the door.” My husband chuckled. That wicked man, tormenting our daughter like that!

“No! If he sees me he might not leave any toys.”

Afraid my daughter would rise to her father’s temptation, I hurried through my task and rattled the fireplace doors once more. Followed by another tug on the jingle bells, I then slipped back into bed.

“Do you think he’s gone?” She asked.

“Why don’t you go look.” My husband said.

After a long pause I heard the click of her door followed by a squeal. “Mommy, Mommy. Santa came. I heard him!”


That, my friends, is one of my favorite Christmas memories. Our daughter, the innocence of a child and her willingness to believe, made for a beautiful memory.

What is yours?

May God bless you with abundant childlike faith during this holy season.

Jennie Atkins


  1. I love that story, Jennie. So sweet. It deserves a very wide audience.

  2. Such a precious memory, Jennie. I can see why you hold it close to your heart.

  3. Great story, Jennie.

    I have many great Christmas memories. Here's one of my faves: Once, when I was probably 11 or 12, my younger sister was incredibly sick in the weeks approaching Christmas. I was sooo worried about her, so I prayed that God would make me sick instead of her. (Apparently in my little kid brain, I didn't think to just pray that God would make her better!) I did indeed get sick and she got better...which doesn't sound so fun. But I remember laying in bed thinking, "Oh my goodness, God really answered my prayer! He answered my prayer." :)

  4. Dee -
    It was precious. Its one of many I'll cherish always!

  5. Lisa,
    Thank you. I love the faith of children during the Christmas season!

  6. Melissa,
    Wow, what a story. I'm glad to see your sister...and you...got better!

  7. Oh, I loved this post! And I loved how God answered Melissa's prayer too ... although I'm sorry she got sick.
    One of my memories:
    My dad was a police officer and he often worked the night shift. So we sometimes had to wait for him to get home to celebrate Christmas. I can remember sitting on the top stairs leading down into the basement with my four brothers and sisters (you got the right: 5 kids!!) and waiting and waiting and waiting for my father to walk int the door so we could run down the stairs to where the presents waited for us under the Christmas tree. I'm sure we drove my poor mother c-r-a-z-y with all our, "When is Daddy going to get home?" questions.

  8. Jennie, what a sweet memory--for you, your husband, and your daughter. :)

    One of my favorite traditions when growing up was one my family shared on Christmas Eve. When my sisters and I grew old enough, my parents let us in on "playing Santa." The only lights in the family room glowed from the Christmas tree.

    One family member exited the room while the rest of us chatted. As soon as we heard bells, we'd all close our eyes and ooh and aah at the work we heard being done under the tree. We'd open our eyes to a larger mound of presents and ooh and aah some more. Afterwards, we always drank eggnog in special Santa mugs and ate home made chocolate chip cookies while Bing Crosby crooned in the background.

  9. What a sweet story. Loved it!

    Thanks for sharing, Jennie!

  10. Loved your story, Jennie. And oh, my goodness, Melissa, you were so noble (and still are)...but then sisters are special!
    My sister was born deaf, and I remember praying that she would be able to hear--don't think I ever offered to change places with her--but not long after that she got hearing aids and for the first time really heard words.
    Great post, Jennie!

  11. What a wonderful story! Love how you both worked together to make your child have a special day. Too much fun :)