Santa was engrossed in his annual Naughty Or Nice List…that was compiled by his Personnel Office each December 8th. Billy B. and Chet and Jane and Daryl were assisting St. Nicholas this year as it was the year of the Santa Trains and the COVID Vaccinations for every member of the Human Family that they could reach. Jane was heading up the compilation of data for the N & N List. It seemed that the List got progressively more unbalanced on the Naughty side each year. Santa had paid little attention to the N & N List except to warn children that they should strive to be good and therefore Nice…so as to avoid a Lump Of Coal in their Christmas Stocking. However, he had noticed a troubling uptick in mental and emotional trauma in the youth of the world. There were more and more mass shootings…and suicides among the young…and he and Mrs. Claus had wept when they saw the nightly news on television.
Pandemic had taken its emotional toll on the children of the earth. Krampus…his evil doppelganger had been working overtime to frighten and work his mischief on the precious children…giving them birch rods instead of toys. It seemed that the parents had forgotten their lovey children in the wake of the stresses of their lives. Where the children had been accustomed to going to school each day and receiving at least breakfast and lunch…for some time they had been Quarantined at Home and left hungry while mom and dad in their dysfunctional state had worried about their addictions. Guns had become like candy from a Sweet Shop. Popular media had suggested that the right to bear arms…was the answer to the myriad of problems that rained against the window sill of the lives of the downtrodden…and the ill.
Billy B. said to Santa, ‘Santa…why don’t you read a Christmas Story to each child that you visit this year?’ ‘This is an experience that many of them have never had,’ Billy B. explained. Chet added, ‘So many of the children are loved deprived…they need to know that someone cares about them…and loves them…and has the few minutes that it takes to read them a bedtime story.’
Jane suggested to Santa that she and Billy B. and Chet and Daryl…accompany him on the Santa Train to help in reading the Bedtime Stories to the children of the world. Santa loved the idea and asked Jane if she could recruit others to assist in this worthy endeavor? Jane said, ‘Santa…I will get all of the students in Hillcrest Grade School to help us…it will be exciting!’
Christmas Eve arrived and Jane and Chet and Billy B. and Daryl…and all of the students of Hillcrest School accompanied Santa and his elves on his Santa Train to not only visit many children who had never been visited by Santa before…but to read them a Christmas Bedtime Story…and to tell them that they loved them…
The Story went like this: ‘In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David. He went to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2: 2-21. NIV