He sat by the fireside, watching the flames dance across the logs. The kindling crackeled as he sipped his cocoa. His Wife filled up his cup as he tried not to sneeze into her hand. Nick had caught his cold over Scotland, it was an extremely cold trip this year.
She kissed him on the head, poured herself a cup, and sat down beside him in her easy chair. “You’ve got to wear ear muffs from now on.” “But then I can’t hear the reindeer.” She laughed at this. “You don’t need to hear them, you know what they’re going to do. They need to hear you. You just don’t want to wear them.”
Now it was his turn to laugh. “You’re right, but you have me wearing three layers of red and white from head to toe now.” She smiled back, and he sighed. He knew that next year, he would have an additional item to his wardrobe. “They’ll need to be green, too much red otherwise.” She said.
He nodded and they set for a few moments without a sound. “Wendell called, they invited us to supper tomorrow.” Santa sneezed, “I hope she fixes ice drop soup. I think the hot chicken broth would help with this cold.” “You and your Head Elf. The two of you will talk business the entire night. He wants you to approve new sleigh designs.”
Santa shook his head. “He just retrofitted it last year.” “You know Wendell, his exact quote was, ‘If we can improve the sleigh, we can shave a minute off the trip.'” “He says that every December 25, of course he’s usually right.”
“Anything special happen this year?” Santa’s eyes twinkled, “Yes. I stopped at the home of the Edmond family. You remember Lucian and Joshua? One is seven, and the other is six. A week ago, Lucian had been very sick. Joshua told his Mom that he wanted his brother to get better by Christmas. He said that if Lucian slept with Toggles, his stuffed Penguin every night, he would get better.”
Mrs. Claus smiled. “I remember. The elves said that he prayed every night for his brother. They said that Lucian got better Christmas Eve.” “He did, but yesterday Joshua started getting sick. Their Mother told Joshua that she would have to wash Toggles before giving him back so they wouldn’t pass germs around.”
Mrs. Claus remembered how easily her kids would catch something from the other when they were young. Now they were grown with children of their own. “Last night, right before I left, Wendell came rushing in. Toggles had been damaged in the washing machine. He was worn out, it was Joshua’s first gift I ever gave him. I placed it in his nursery when he was a baby.”
“I didn’t think you made that one anymore?” “We didn’t, not for at least three years now. Wendell had made two of them by hand. He almost didn’t get them to me in time, I was already in the sleigh.” “Two of them?” “Yes, he said Lucian gladly gave his Mother Joshua’s toy back, but they could tell he was a little sad to see it go.”
“So they each got a new Toggles?” “Yes, but that wasn’t the special part. When I got there, both boys were asleep, but near Joshua’s bed was every stuffed animal that Lucian owned. He wanted his brother to be better by Christmas. I’m afraid that you know that’s beyond my power to give.”
Mrs. Claus nodded as he continued. “Lucian had also knelt by his brother’s bedside that night when he gave him the stuffed animals. He ask God that his brother be better by Christmas morning, and he believed with all his heart that he would. I could tell when I got there that I wasn’t the only one in the room.”
“There was a stillness, A peace had filled the room. As I placed the Penguins by the boy’s beds, I felt Joshua’s head. His fever had broke. This morning the boys each got a far better gift than a stuffed Penguin.”
The two toymaker’s sat, holding hands by the fire, reflecting on God’s goodness and the joy they were blessed to share. Santa drifted off to sleep, and Anna caught his empty cup before it toppled out of his hand. Once again, she kissed his forehead, and said her own prayer. She prayed that his cold too would pass on Christmas.
When Santa awoke from his nap, he stretched, smiled, and joined Mrs. Claus and the family for their own Christmas celebration. There was laughter, smiles, and yes, even Ho Ho Ho’s, but no sneezes, or fever to ruin the day.
Merry Christmas to all of you from all of us @ PruittWrites.com. May your stockings be filled with cheer, your tree with at least one special present for each of you, but above all else, may your hearts be filled with God’s love this Christmas.