Many years ago, a coworker of mine at Old Kent Bank worked on me for months prompting me to be one of her Santa Claus’s at The Woodland Mall that Holiday season. I finally caved to the pressure and agreed but felt uncomfortable every time I put on the costume. I refused to bellow “HO, HO, HO! And this prompted mothers to express appreciation for a gentle Santa. Each time I held a child on my lap, I said, “Santa loves you, but Jesus loves you far more. Some children looked at me, confused while others said, “I Know. But I continued to tell them of Jesus’ love for them. I did not care if I got fired because I wanted the children to know the truth.
One evening just before the mall closed, it was quiet upon the platform where I sat on my throne. A group of what looked to me like throwback hippies from the late 1960s walked by the display. Yes, I am old enough to remember the 1960s, barely but sadly that old.
They were commenting about the display and saying. “Hi” to Santa. One gentleman stopped and walked up to the platform. All I could see was his head and shoulders, and he said, “Santa, would you pray for me?” and then before I could respond, he walked several feet away from the platform and sat on a bench alone. I said to my boss (also a Christian), “I am going to go and witness to that man, so if you have to fire me, go right ahead. She said that If I did not go and testify to that man, she would fire me.
I will never forget sitting next to this disheveled man with long hair quoting John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. I was sharing the truth in spite of the red suit and white beard. I had to hold it together and not laugh as this old guy passed by and witnessed the event with shock on his face.
I wish I could say that this man prayed the sinner’s prayer with me, but he did not. I pray that I will meet him again in eternity with our Lord Jesus Christ. But I believe that my whole reason for being Santa Clause at the Woodland Mall that season was so that this man would be prayed for, witnessed to and that the children that found their way to that mall heard that Jesus loved them more. I have not since felt prompted to put on a red suit at Christmas because I know that the only red that has ever made any difference in the life of a person is that of the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13