We have two lovely people who volunteer their time each holiday season to bring the cheer of Christmas to our elderly residents in nursing homes. They are not your typical hospice volunteers. Clothed in red and white, their black buckled boots barely make a sound as they jaunt down the hallways to see the smiling faces waiting for them. However, the jingle of their bells and the loud Ho, Ho, Ho do announce their presence long before their rosy red cheeks are seen. Santa and Mrs. Claus joined me today as we wished several ladies and gentleman a merry Christmas and took photos that captured the joy of today as they remembered the wistfulness of yesterday.
The world I am privliged to live in each day I work for hospice never ceases to amaze me and to helps me appreciate the small things in life. If people have not worked in long-term care or geratric care, they cannot fathom the journey these special people walk each day. Today was a day of mainly smiles as we gathered around the Christmas tree and met with each person who came to visit with Santa and Anwyn Claus. Our most heard phrase today was "who would want a picture of me? I'll break the camera." However, after Santa immediately saying, "It would be a blessing for me to have my picture with you. Would you please take your picture with me." All but a few quickly changed their minds and what resistance they had just voiced was quickly forgotten as they flashed happy and bright smiles. For the ones who were unable to join us by the tree, we visited them in their rooms.
WE were blessed with several endearing moments such as one gentleman saying with great enthusiasm, "It's Santy Claus!" with a huge smile on his face, to another lady who is unable to verbalize but was able to show us how excited she was to see our guests through her smile, animations and hugs. The most memorable moment today however was when we were nearing the end of our day and we had just snapped a photo of a lady and our Santas and she just hung on to each of their hands and her eyes welled up with tears. We gathered around her and she said, "I'm sorry, it's just hard sometimes." A small part of my heart felt like it broke and I felt tears fill my eyes and the words that came out were, "It's okay-God made us that way."
It was another humbling moment that reminded me that even the smallest pleasures and tasks of independence should never be taken for granted AND that quality time and a smile can make all the difference in the world.
As I 've gone through the years, I've heard very many opinions about Santa Claus and the role he plays in Christmas. These opinions have varied from one extreme to Santa should never be mentioned to your kids to Santa is one of the best parts of Christmas. We should always remember the reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ; that Christmas is a reminder of the hope each of us has for an eternal home in heaven. However, as we look back through all the people God has used to bring glory to His name, shouldn't we consider that God is willing to use a icon of hope and joy to spread the good news? When we think of God, what are a few things that come to mind? Today I saw God as I saw the twinkle in Santa's eyes spark the twinkle in the eyes of many. I saw God as men and women smiled at the warm touch of a white-gloved hand. And as we said goodbye and Santa jingled his bells, waved his hands and let out a resounding ho, ho, ho, I have to believe we gave these people hope because they knew God loved them enough to send someone to say remember Me and have a very merry CHRISTmas.