Sunday, December 10, 2006


> Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at
> Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a
> picture of a little girl. "Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling.
> "Your friend?" Your sister?
> "Yes, Santa," he replied. "My sister, Sarah, who is very sick," he
> said
> sadly.
> Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw
> her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
> "She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!" the
> child exclaimed. "She misses you," he added softly.
> Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face,
> asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.
> When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the
> child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.
> "What is it?" Santa asked warmly.
> "Well, I know it's really too much to ask you, Santa, but ..." the old
> woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa's elves to
> collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.
> "The girl in the photograph .. my granddaughter .. well, you see ..
> she
> has leukemia and isn't expected to make it even through the
> holidays," she said through tear-filled eyes. "Is there any way, Santa
> ... any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all she's
> asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa."
> Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave
> information
> with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could
> do.
> Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon.
> He knew what he had to do. "What if it were MY child lying in that
> hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "this is the
> least I can do."
> When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening,
> he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was
> staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to
> Children's Hospital.
> "Why?" Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.
> Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother earlier
> that day. "C'mon .... I'll take you there," Rick said softly.
> Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa.
> They found out which room Sarah was in.
> A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.
> Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and
> saw
> little Sarah on the bed. The room was full of what appeared to be her
> family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met
> earlier that day.
> A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently
> pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead.
> And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a
> chair near the bed with weary, sad look on her face. They were talking
> quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family,
> and their love and concern for Sarah. Taking a deep breath, and
> forcing
> a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho,
> ho, ho!"
> "Santa!" shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed
> to
> run to him, IV tubes in tact.
> Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender
> age
> of his own son -- 9 years old -- gazed up at him with wonder and
> excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald
> patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he
> looked
> at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to
> force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon
> Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women
> in
> the room. As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to
> the
> bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully,
> whispering "thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him with shining
> eyes.
> Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the
> toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good
> girl
> that year. As their tim e together dwindled, Santa felt led in his
> spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for
> permission from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the
> entire family circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands.
> Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in
> angels.
> "Oh, yes, Santa ... I do!" she exclaimed.
> "Well, I'm going to ask that angels watch over you, "he said. Laying
> one
> hand on the child's head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked
> that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease He
> asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he
> finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing softly,
> "Silent Night, Holy Night - all is calm, all is bright." The family
> joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of
> hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all. When
> the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held
> Sarah's
> frail, small hands in his own.
> "Now, Sarah," he said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that
> is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with
> your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at
> Mayfair
> Mall this time next year!" He knew it was risky proclaiming that, to
> this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he "had" to.
> He had to give her the greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or
> toys -- but the gift of HOPE.
> "Yes, Santa!" Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright.
> He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room
> Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed
> between them and they wept unashamed. Sarah's mother and grandmother
> slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa's side to thank
> him.
> "My only child is the same age as Sarah," he explained quietly. "This
> is
> the least I could do." They nodded with understanding and hugged him.
> One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for
> his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went
> by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.
> "Hi, Santa! Remember me?!"
> "Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down
> at
> her.
> After all, the secret to being a "good" Santa is to always make each
> child feel as if they are the "only" child in the world at that moment.
> "You came to see me in the hospital last year!" Santa's jaw dropped.
> Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little
> miracle
> and held her to his chest. "Sarah!" he exclaimed. He scarcely
> recognized
> her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy -- much
> different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He
> looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines
> smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.
> That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.
> He had witnessed --and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing
> about
> -- this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed.
> Cancer-free. Alive and well.
> He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, "Thank you,
> Father. ' Tis a very, Merry Christmas!"
> If you believe in miracles you will pass this on. I did!!

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