Matt Swearengin Managing Editor
December 24, 2013
“Some say love it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love it is a flower
And you its only seed.”
- “The Rose”
I was typing Santa letters from area school children last week and was reaching the point where I was about to fall asleep reading wish lists from kids who wanted iPads, iPods, iPhones, Playstations, Xboxes, Kindle Fires and all kinds of other high-tech gadgets and toys.
The toys and gadgets are much fancier than the ones I had as a child in the 1970s.
There were numerous letters to to type and I’m saying to myself, “How long is it going to take to finish these?” I continued to type one letter after another until about midway through them, I started to type one and about one-quarter way through it, I paused as I realized this was not like the other letters to Santa I had typed that afternoon.
The child who wrote this letter did not ask for a single toy or gadget, and I froze for about 30 seconds while typing it.
This is what the child wrote: “Dear Santa, I was wondering how are you and Mrs. Claus doing is she is OK owh and of cors I forgot you’r elves. I wonder how are thay doing, and the reindeer espeshialy Rudolph my favorit, Santa I was wondering if I will ever get adopted from Kevin and Susan, Santa I was wondering if your presentsack realy made out of the clouk made for babby Jesus how god set down to earth to die on the cros for our sin so we could got to heven, but this is my real wish I realy whant to be adopted my mother dident realy care a bout me so now I am in foster care but my daddy owhays loved me no mater what, I realy loved him. I wish I could see my daddy wons again I really miss him.”
At the bottom of the letter the child wrote “look on the back.” On the other side of the letter is a drawing that the child made for Santa.
I’ve helped type Santa letters for 16 years and although I have seen similar letters before, none this powerful and so well written. I felt a deep sadness as I continued to read the letter over and over again.
I felt the urge to share it, so a few minutes later, I posted an excerpt of it on the Bryan County Soundoff group on Facebook, and later that evening, on my own FB page. I received many comments about it.
Many who responded said it brought them to tears and was heartbreaking, yet also revealed the true meaning of Christmas. Another comment was that the child would be on the person’s mind Christmas morning, and another person said the child understood what was really important.
It also motivated members of the Soundoff group to help collect toys for the Lions Club who were running short on donations this year.
This child should know that her words touched the hearts of many who are now praying for her and will be thinking about her on Christmas morning. I considered editing the letter for publication due to the sensitive nature of the subject, however, I later realized that who was I to say that this wish should be silenced while it’s OK for a child to want the newest toy or electronic device? This wish is much more important, and I thank the child for having the courage to write this, and also expressing hope.
You have indeed touched the hearts of many.
“God bless the many children who have these sad burdens on their hearts,” one person wrote.
Love is what children need most of all, and it is an “endless aching need.”
Memories of my childhood come flooding back to me every year as I recall the Christmas Eve dinners at my grandparents’, the excitement of Christmas morning opening presents with my parents and brother, and the family dinners Christmas evening at “Memaw’s,” where I had hours of fun with my cousins and other relatives. I never knew at that young age that it wasn’t that way for everyone.
Now, I enjoy watching my daughter’s excitement at Christmas.
“I can’t wait for Christmas any longer,” she said, Monday evening, excited about the gifts she will receive from her loving family.
Merry Christmas, everyone, and remember the true spirit is helping and showing compassion for others less fortunate.
When you’re watching the excitement of your kids unwrap presents Christmas morning, pause and remember that far too many children do not have and wish for what so many of us take for granted.