Ho, ho, HO! The big guy in the red suit with the white beard strides into the room. His curly hair, the same sparkling white as the trim on his hat, gives him the look of a giant terrier in need of grooming. His look is absurd, but his attitude is all about the mission. This is a confident Claus, a man used to commanding a room. He ho-hos and hellos around the room, handing out presents. Finally, he confronts the smallest one in the room, the girl with the bright eyes trying her best to not be sad at Christmas. Santa crouches and just looks at her, not saying a word. If you look closely, you’ll see Santa’s lower lip begin to tremble as the big man tries to keep it together.
He rips off the beard and wig, revealing hair cut high and tight. The girl’s eyes grow wide. Her mouth widens as tears begin to flow. Daddy? DADDY! It is all she can say as she melts into his arms.
Another soldier has come home.
Christmas is all about coming home, about knowing that the ones we love are all right. It’s about filling empty seats at the table, filling empty rooms in the house and filling empty places in the heart. It’s also about knowing that our loved ones are safe at home in His hands.
I learned today that one of my favorite writers is in Heaven. John Sherrill co-authored many books with his wife Elizabeth, including The Hiding Place and The Cross and the Switchblade. In All the Way To Heaven, Elizabeth describes a time that she and John were travelling in Texas and stopped at a roadside diner to have a Texas-sized breakfast. She says:
“A large table next to ours was occupied by five or six men in bill caps. Soon the screen door banged open to admit a newcomer. ‘Here he is!” one of the men called out, as they scooted chairs around to make room. … He’s here at last! Things are all right now! The circle’s complete!”
This is Elizabeth’s view of Heaven: a great table with diners eagerly awaiting newcomers. Each one who arrives is greeted with the joyful, triumphant cry, Here she is! Here he is!
This Christmas, let’s greet each other with joy and celebrate knowing that Heaven rejoices over every person who joins our table here – and there.
Written by Dave Wahl