Three years ago, a little boy and his
grandmother came to see Santa at the McAllister Mall in Saint John . The
child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl.
Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling. "Your
"Yes, Santa,' he replied. "My sister, Sarah,
who is very sick," he said sadly.
Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was
waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue. "She wanted to
come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!" the child exclaimed. "She
misses you," he added softly.
Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a
smile to the boy's face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for
When they finished their visit, the
Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say
something to Santa, but halted.
"What is it?" Santa asked warmly.
"Well, I know it's really too much to ask you,
Santa, but.." the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of
Santa's elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young
"The girl in the photograph... my
granddaughter well, you see ... she has leukemia and isn't expected to make
it even through the holidays," she said through tear-filled eyes. "Is there
any way, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all
she's asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa."
Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the
woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he
would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that
afternoon. He knew what he had to do. "What if it were MY child lying in
that hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "This is the
least I can do."
When Santa finished visiting with all the boys
and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the
hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager
how to get to the Hospital.
"Why?" Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his
Santa relayed to him the conversation with
Sarah's grandmother earlier that day.
"C'mon.....I'll take you there." Rick said
softly. Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa.
They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale
Rick said, he would wait out in the hall.
Santa quietly peeked into the room through the
half-closed door and saw little Sarah in the bed.
The room was full of what appeared to be her
family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier
that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed,
gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he
discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary
sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the
warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.
Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on
his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho, Ho, Ho!"
"Santa!" shrieked little Sarah, weakly as she
tried to escape her bed to run to him IV tubes intact.
Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm
A child the tender age of his own son -- 9
years old -- gazed up at him with wonder and excitement. Her skin was pale
and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of
chemotherapy. But, all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of, huge blue
eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears.
Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and
quiet sobbing of the women in the room.
As he and Sarah began talking, the family
crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his
hand gratefully, whispering "Thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him with
shining eyes. Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly
all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good
girl that year.
As their time together dwindled, Santa felt
led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the
girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around
Sarah's bed, holding hands. Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if
she believed in angels.
"Oh, yes, Santa... I do!" she exclaimed.
"Well, I'm going to ask angels watch over
you." he said. Laying one hand on the child's head, Santa closed his eyes
and prayed. He asked that, God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from
this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And
when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing,
softly, "Silent Night, Holy Night....all is calm, all is bright." The
family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of
hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.
When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of
the bed again and held Sarah's frail, small hands in his own. "Now, Sarah,"
he said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate
on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this
summer, and I expect to see you at my house at McAllister Mall this time
He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this
little girl who had terminal cancer, but he "had" to. He had to give her the
greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of
"Yes, Santa!" Sarah exclaimed, her eyes
He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead
and left the room.
Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met
Rick's, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.
Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of
the room quickly and rushed to Santa's side to thank him.
"My only child is the same age as Sarah," he
explained quietly. "This is the least I could do." They nodded with
understanding and hugged him.
One year later, Santa was again back on the
set in Saint John for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do.
Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.
"Hi, Santa! Remember me?!"
"Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he
always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a "good"
Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the "only" child in
the world at that moment.
"You came to see me in the hospital last
Santa's jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang
in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest.
"Sarah!" he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and
silky and her cheeks were rosy -- much different from the little girl he had
visited just a year before. He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and
grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.
That was the best Christmas ever for Santa
He had witnessed --and been blessed to be
instrumental in bringing about -- this miracle of hope. This precious little
child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to
Heaven and humbly whispered, "Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, Merry
If you believe in miracles you will pass this