Family Advent – Day Seven

[Symbol] – St. Nicholas

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[A Symbol related Story]

And now we call him Santa Claus

by Kay Tutt

Long ago and far away there live a little boy named Nicholas. Nicholas parents were very rich so they always bought him plenty of toys. But Nicholas was so kind that he gave them all away. He gave them to the children who had none.

When he grew up, he gave away everything that he had, even his big house and went away to spend his time helping people…. Everyone liked and admired Nicholas very much…

Nicholas..was given a fine red cloak and a tall red hat. Nicholas made a very elegant Bishop.

Nicholas never stopped doing nice things for people. At night when everyone was fast asleep he would leave food and presents for families all over town and before anyone saw him he would slip quietly away.

Of course in those days he would carry the gifts around on foot but now he has some reindeer and a sleigh. And now we call him Santa Claus.

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 [Song] Little St Nick

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[Scripture] Matthew 7: 11

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

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[Challenge – Secret Santa] – St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, is a jolly, magical old man who leaves gifts for good girls and boys. While Santa Claus might look a little different or be called by a different name, he is always a symbol of the spirit of generosity. St Nicholas or Santa reminds us that it is good to give others freely and to treat others with kindness and love. So Today in the spirit of generosity put the names of your family in a bowl and each pick out a name and be that person’s secret Santa.

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 [Story relating to the challenge]

https://www.lds.org/new-era/1997/12/seminary-santas?

Seminary Santas

by Terry Fowler

Those simple, secret gifts made a lifetime difference.

During my first two years of teaching seminary in Nevada, I assigned two students in each class to be what we called “seminary phantoms.” They were to do nice things throughout the year for their fellow students, without anyone knowing.

Most of the students in my early-morning class were from the same two wards, except for one freshman. His name was Clark, and every day he sat by himself near the front of the room. About three months into the year, I had the class grouped into teams. I asked one boy to let Clark be on his team, and he asked, “Who’s Clark?” It was then that I realized how few people knew Clark.

A few weeks later, as the Christmas season drew near, we geared up to do our annual seminary Christmas activity called “secret Santas.” Students who wanted to participate signed up to do nice things, anonymously, for another student during the week before Christmas break. As the sign-up list went around, nearly everyone signed up. Everyone except Clark.

After class, I pulled aside my two seminary phantoms and asked if they would do a favor for someone in the class. They both willingly agreed. I explained about Clark and asked if they would mind doing just one nice thing for him from his secret Santa.

The following Monday, Clark’s book slot was decorated with ribbons and candy. Tuesday, there were small gifts. As the class came in both days, they crowded around him to see what he had received. Again on Wednesday, there was a small surprise left for him on my desk. When Thursday came, he found a gingerbread house on his desk. He couldn’t believe his eyes.

The next morning was Friday, the last day before Christmas vacation. Clark came into class with a present of his own. It was a huge gingerbread house that must have taken him and his mother all evening to make. He asked if I would please give it to his secret Santa. When class was over, Clark was slow in leaving, hoping to find out who I would give his gift to. But I convinced him that his Santa wanted to remain a secret. As he walked down the street, a car which a few minutes earlier had appeared to drive off, turned into the parking lot again, and two girls got an early Christmas present.

Seminary became Clark’s favorite class. Throughout the remaining three years, he had some wonderful friends in seminary. I can’t help but think that it was partially the result of those two seminary phantoms. The year that he graduated from high school and seminary, I was transferred to another state.

The following summer, my family and I came back to visit. Late one evening, at the home where we were staying, we heard a car drive by. The horn honked and someone yelled, “We love you, Brother Fowler!” In the morning, I found my car “decorated” with toilet paper. Inside was a note with a copy of a mission call attached to it. It was from Clark. It read, “Seminary was the inspiration for the day and for my life. Thanks!”

 Media link: [Kids and Christmas]

https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2010-12-24-kids-and-christmas?lang=eng

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10th Anniversary Advent Throw-Back :

[A Favourite from Previous Advents]

SANTA’S SECRET WISH

On Christmas Eve, a young boy with a light in his eyes,
Looked deep into Santa’s, and to Santa’s surprise,
Asked, as he sat on Santa’s broad knee,
I want your secret. Tell it to me.
He leaned up and whispered into Santa’s good ear,
How do you do it, year after year?
I want to know how, as you travel about,
Giving gifts here and there, you never run out.
How is it, dear Santa, that in your pack of toys,
You have plenty for all of the world’s girls and boys?
It stays full, never empties, as you make your way,
Rooftop to rooftop, riding your sleigh,
To homes large and small,
From nation to nation, reaching them all.

Santa smiled kindly and said to the boy,
Don’t ask me hard questions. Don’t you want a toy?
But the child shook his head, and Santa could see
That he needed the answer. Now listen to me,
He told the small boy with the light in his eyes,
My secret will make you sadder but wise.
The truth is that my sack is magic inside,
It holds millions of toys for my Christmas Eve ride.
But although I do visit each girl and each boy,
I don’t always leave them a gaily wrapped toy.
Some children are hungry, some homes are sad,
Some homes are desperate, and some homes are bad,
Some are broken, and the children there grieve.
Those homes I visit, but what should I leave?
My sleigh is filled with the happiest stuff,
But for homes where despair lives, toys aren’t enough.
So I tiptoe in, kiss each girl and boy,
And pray with them that they’ll be given the joy,
Of the spirit of Christmas, the spirit that lives,
In the heart of the dear child who gets not, but gives.
If only God hears me and answers my prayer,
When I visit next year, what I will find there,
Are homes filled with peace, and with giving, and love
And boys and girls gifted with light from above.
It’s a very hard task, my smart little brother,
To give toys to some, and to give prayers to other.

But the prayers are the best gifts, the best gifts indeed,
For God has a way of meeting each need.
That’s part of the answer. The rest, my dear youth,
Is that my sack is magic. And that is the truth.
In my sack I carry on Christmas Eve day,
More love than a Santa could every give away.
The sack never empties of love, or of joys,
‘Cause inside it are prayers, and hope. Not just toys.
The more that I give, the fuller it seems,
Because giving is my way of fulfilling their dreams.
And do you know something? You’ve got a sack, too.
It’s as magic as mine, and it’s inside of you.
It never gets empty, it’s full from the start.
It’s the center of lights, and love. It’s your heart.
So, if on this Christmas you want to help me,
Don’t be concerned with the gifts ‘neath your tree.
Open that sack called your heart, and share
Your joy, your friendship, your wealth, your care.

The light in the small boy’s eyes was glowing.
Thanks for your secret. I’ve got to be going.
Wait, little boy, said Santa, Don’t go.
Will you share? Will you help? Will you use what you know?
And just for a moment the small boy stood still,
Touched his heart with his small hand and whispered, I will.
by Betty Werth

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