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It’s Time To Tell! by Judith Wright-Ingram


From childhood, to adulthood, to parenthood, Christmas was my special time of the year.  I can't remember Christmas before the age of six, but from then on, I remember Christmas well.  It was 1959 when the spirit found its way into my heart.  Looking back now, I can clearly see the day my mother took me into her arms, hugging me tight.  Her face was sad, and I knew something was wrong.  Christmas was only a few days away and she seemed so unhappy.  This wasn't like her at all.  She was always full of joy, funny and playful, most especially at Christmas.  Now, something disturbed her, something weighed heavily on her mind

Weeks prior to Christmas I'd been filling out my gift list for Santa.  I spent hours looking through outdated catalogs imagining all the things my heart desired.  But there was only one thing I really wanted, one thing I begged the most for; my dream doll.  She was so pretty with a lacy dress and big blue eyes.  I fell in love with her the first time I saw her picture.  Patty is what I called her and she was going to be my baby sister.

I had always wanted a sister but settled for two brothers, with no choice in the matter.  "Maybe Santa won't be able to bring any gifts this year," my mother whispered in my ear, gently stroking my head.  "Maybe not even "Patty."   At that moment my heart swelled with disappointment and a terrible confusion enveloped me.  I didn't say a word.  I knew she sensed my confusion and this was when I discovered ... there is no Santa.

My father had been sick a lot that year and it almost broke my mother's heart to confess how poor we were.  She had to tell me though, so I wouldn't dwell on false hope.  I wasn't disappointed in knowing the truth about Santa.  By then I had a good idea anyway.  What hurt the most was the pain she suffered.  The look in her eyes was what touched my heart and I let my dream doll go, clinging unconditionally to her love.

When Christmas Eve arrived there were three small packages under the aluminum tree a friend had given us.  We may not have had a tree at all if it were not given to us.  My brothers and I ripped our presents open and each of us found a book.  We were happy and we were sad, but we had each other.

While my mother read the books to us we sat curled up on the sofa listening to Christmas carols.  My father slipped out of the room and a few minutes later my mother glanced over to the front door and exclaimed, "What's that?"  She got up, walked over to the door and picked up a piece of paper that had been slipped under the crack.  "What do we have here?  A note from Santa!” she announced with great joy.  Then we waited anxiously for her to read it:

 Dear Children,

     Most kids don't believe in ol' Santa when they get to be your age.  They know that it is really their folks who give them lovely gifts and toys.  Well, I heard something the other day that  surprised me.  I heard that one little boy, in the fourth grade, still believed in Santa.  Right away, I found out who that little boy was.  I also found out that he had a brother and a sister.  And that's not all I found out either.  No!  I found out that they weren't going to get many presents this year because their parents didn't have any money to buy any.

     Well, if each of these children would pray every night to God and thank Him for what they do have, and ask Him for help when they need it, I know He would hear them and do what He could to answer their prayers.  I also think that if they went to Sunday School and Church, too, and always mind their parents and teachers and do what they can to help them, they would be much happier.  Their parents love them very much.

        Do you know who I'm writing about in this letter?  Yes, it is the little boy who lives here.  And because I know you will do the things I mentioned, and because you didn't get any of the things you wanted for Christmas this year, I am leaving a thing or two for all of you.  You will find them on your front porch.  I am sorry I can't come in to see you, but I am very busy tonight.

Merry Christmas
From Santa Claus

As soon as she was through reading, the three of us dashed to the door, flung it open, and there sat a box of toys.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  On the very top peeking right at me were Patty's big blue eyes.  My mother smiled and said, "I guess there is a Santa after all."

I knew it was really my father and not Santa, but it didn't matter.  It was the spirit's love that mattered the most and that spirit took root in me and grew and grew and grew.  Many Christmas Eves later my mother and I talked about that special Christmas.  It was during my early teens.  We sat next to the brightly lit tree, reminiscing over the past.  She asked me if I remember the year Santa came by surprise.  "How could I forget," I smiled warmly.  "That's when I learned what Christmas is about."  "Me, too," she admitted, "and I may have never known if it was not for the help of our church and my friend Irene."

I never knew how we received those gifts until then.  My mother finally told me after all those years.  Throughout my early childhood she was the Sunday School teacher at our local Presbyterian Church.  Certain members had learned about our needy situation and they graciously bestowed her with a twenty-five dollar check to buy us kids toys.  But the church wasn't the only one who knew.  Her friend Irene also knew and Irene's boyfriend worked for the fire department, having access to the "Toys for Tots," from which he had "stolen”.  Though his intentions were to give them to Irene's children, she felt moved to share them with us.

The thought of how the church made it possible for us to have such a memorable Christmas put a glow in my heart.  Knowing that some of the toys were stolen didn't seem to bother me.  I think I even felt grateful for such a sacrifice from Irene.  Nonetheless, Christmas of 1959 was one I would never forget.

The special meaning of miracles and magic followed me into parenthood.  I was unbelievably influenced by that one act in my life and it seemed to control how I felt about the spirit.  Through years of hustle and bustle crowds and last minute pressures, I still remained faithful and planted my love for the spirit into the hearts of my three daughters.  I obediently grit my teeth many a time and nurtured this love until their teens.  I was sure some day they would plant this same love in the hearts of my grandchildren.

I can't remember when Christmas began to change.  I do remember when I realized it had changed.  It is the last Christmas I have honored - the day when I plucked the spirit from my heart and cast the love out.  It was the day when I truly learned what Christmas is really all about.  And this is when my life took a turn of events that would someday put me face to face battling the spirit of darkness.

The real Christmas picture is much different than that of a child's perspective.  The perspective I grew up with, and passed on to my children was built on half-truths mingled in and around human emotion.  Fantasy and fairy tales shaped our lives, molded our dreams, and created our future expectations of what Christmas would be.

I saw the change in my children long before myself.  But I suppose it seemed natural at the time, though I never recalled memories of myself acting that way as a child.  Then again, life was different for me, money was less abundant and perhaps I, too, might have been more greedy if my Christmases had been as rich as theirs.  For me, however, Christmas was a time to recapture family closeness, renew estranged relationships, and build warm memories to cherish forevermore; at least this is what I thought the purpose of Christmas was about, what I tried clinging to over the years, unsuccessfully.

My children on the other hand had no shame expressing their greed.  Christmas meant gifts, gifts, gifts.  Family closeness meant more gifts.  Building warm memories meant getting everything they wanted.  Christmas was measured by what they received, or didn't.  Gifts determined whether they had a great one or a disappointing one.  And if they had a disappointing one, I felt guilty for not making Christmas the best, the biggest, the most wonderful time in their lives.  I would feel like I let them down.

In December 1986, on the night of Christmas Eve, I felt let down.  Greed utterly consumed me beyond denial.  Every gift I wanted, asked for, and hinted at repeatedly did not come.  Instead, my husband bought what he thought would be a gift to cherish forever: a pair of beautiful ruby earrings (my birthstone).  I couldn't help hate them because they robbed me of everything I wanted, and so I pouted.

For me, Christmas was ruined.  Through the reflection of my husband's hurtful eyes, I quickly began to see my own self-image of ugliness.  Perhaps if I had received even some of my wishes I would have gone on contentedly serving Christmas filled with illusions of selflessness.  But the discontented spirit of greed pierced my heart and the Spirit of God provoked me to search my soul.

My search began after Christmas was over and the new year of 1987 rolled in.  This is when I truly hoped I could rediscover the meaning of Christmas and rid myself of the evil that had crept in over the years.  I wanted so desperately to find that old-fashioned simplicity I remembered from my storybook dreams, hoping that the next Christmas would, once again, be in the rightful perspective (it just wasn't the perspective I was expecting).

Investigating my own values led me to investigate the spirit of Christmas.  Everywhere I looked it said "Get into the Spirit," but what I saw people getting into did not appear as being the Spirit of Christ.  As I looked around at my family, friends, and strangers, I saw how they, too, were filled with selfish greed.  I listen to children brag with pride and complain with ungratefulness.  Merchants couldn't wait to count their profits while poor lay helplessly starving to death with a pitiful look in their eyes.

After researching the history of Christmas the picture suddenly became clearer.  The reality of that image was grim and very disturbing.  What I once considered to be special was no more, for what I discovered could not be easily dismissed.  At this point I no longer could rationalize the goodness of Christmas.  I realized, very painfully, that I had been living a deception by claiming the spirit of this affair as the Spirit of God.  The fruit, however, became evident when the taste became too bitter to swallow.

Christmas has rested contentedly for much too long in the church's protective womb.  It has been tenderly nurtured by the hands of the government and carefully stroked by the merchants and the spirit's supporters.  What the world needs to know now is the truth about a conspiracy that was cleverly mastered by the dark forces of the underworld many centuries ago.  How Christmas has managed to play a game with time, slowly robbing us from what is rightfully ours: Spiritual Freedom.  Without truth can there be freedom?  Without freedom can there be truth?

For the sake of these two precious pearls, I have written this book.  For the sake of the lonely, the depressed, the homeless and hopeless, and all the burdened souls who seek to escape, I have written this book.  For the sake of future generations, that perhaps may not be too late, I have written this book ... and especially for all Christians who truly desire to know the truth.  But most of all, I have written this book for Christ Jesus to expose the true Christmas spirit and lay it open for all the world to see.  If I can accomplish this, then I will have accomplished everything I set out to do.  And although I realize this is a mighty big order to fill, with no multi-million-member organization promoting me, I need only one force: the Light to Shine The Way.

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Copyright 1990 / ISBN: 0-533-08812-7 / Library of Congress Catalog Card No : 89-90466 (Out-Of-Print)