“Is Santa real, Mommy?” he asked, with saucer-big eyes.
The question itself wasn’t all that surprising. I’d known for quite a while that he was getting ready to say goodbye to that magical part of his childhood. The previous Christmas, his letter to Santa had begun, “It’s getting harder to believe, but I’m trying to have faith.”
In fact, I’d been preparing for this question over the last six months, slowly crafting this story to share with him when he was finally ready to learn the truth. Still, on that summer night, questions about Santa were far from my thoughts. Who thinks about Santa in the middle of a heat wave?
As always, God is good. He had perfectly orchestrated this moment: a sky bright with stars, a tree-frog chorus singing in the background, and my husband and three younger daughters conveniently out for the evening.
I pulled out a manuscript and patted the couch. “Come sit with me. I’d like to share something with you.”
As I read, I could see the question marks in his eyes. Why on earth was I reading him a Christmas story? A few pages in, I knew he had begun to sense that this story was different. His restless body quieted. There was a stillness in the air that seemed to whisper secrets and sacred knowledge.
As Thomas listened in on the characters’ conversation and began to make sense of what this meant in his own life, his eyes sparkled with unspilled tears. The story came to a close, and I gently touched his knee.
“What do you think, buddy?”
He drew in a shaky breath. “I think I kind of already knew. I just needed to hear you say it.”
I asked him how he was feeling, and he replied that he was kind of sad to see something that had been so special coming to a close. We talked about a new kind of joy that comes from participating in the secret, and how next Christmas things would be different, but maybe just as special.
My own eyes filled as I asked Thomas the question I’d been rehearsing for months.
“I have a favor to ask, Buddy. See, I’m hoping to share this story with other boys and girls who are ready to learn the Santa Secret. I’d be honored if you would illustrate it.”
So he did.
Five months later, my words and Thomas’ pictures have become a book we’d love to share with you! Click here to learn more about our story.