(Translated from the original Filipino Christmas story of Francis Raymund Gonzales)
"They're going to boycott you," a voice behind him broke the silence of the room.
He didn't turn to the source of the message. He just continued to stir sugar into his coffee. Oh no; he have put too much sugar. Now he knows why: he is somewhat affected even if he had heard it before.
"Rudolph, where did that came from?" the old man asked his friendly pet.
"It's in the Internet. It says here that the people would start a campaign of not patronizing you anymore this December. What's worse about it is that Catholic priests will spearhead this against you."
Taking a deep breath, he does not want to show his pet that he knows all these things. The eastern winds whispered this to him a month ago--and the western a week ago--and the south about two hours ago. He does not want to admit that this is what makes him a little less jolly for a couple of days now.
"Santa," Rudolph continued, "a group of deers suggested that we would just pick places where there are still no actions made against you. According to some collected information, you are popular in Japan. So that means, we could conduct a mission there."
It looks like that he doesn't want to talk to his pet anymore, so he pushed his back against his soft chair. Rudolph also noticed that his master does not want to talk about the topic in hand, so he left the room.
A deeper breath was all that Santa Claus could do. It looks like Santa Claus, the most popular symbol of Christmas in the world, is hesitant to stand up and move. Despite the many years of giving joy to children, he knew that one day there would be people who would complain and hate him.
He also knew the reason why they are pulling him down: someone made a private message to him on Facebook telling him that he was stealing the spotlight from the Infant Jesus; instead of centering the celebration to the Messiah, he himself was the reason of the happiness of the children and the commercialization of Christmas. That is why he ignored Rudolph when he involved Japan. Yes--the Land of the Rising Sun. Christmas is popular there, however, he was the reason behind it. He is THE icon of Christmas in a foreign land. He overlapped the Messiah in the importance of the Japanese; and he is disappointed of it.
Suddenly, he thought of something. He rung the tiny bells to call his reindeers: "Dasher! Dancer! Prancer! Vixen! Comet! Cupid! Donner! Blitzen! Rudolph! Ready the sleigh! We'll go visit someone!"
That night, they went to a cathedral in a nearby town. Santa walked inside the dark, cold, hollow place, and in a nook, he saw a lighted image of Jesus in the manger. There is no other image there. He thought that someone forgot to put this in the right place. He was astonished that there were no lights in it! It seems that a light from above the cathedral that illuminates the image is guiding him to where he was standing.
With guilt from within, he humbly prostrated in prayer upon reaching the image:
"Master, first of all, I would like to thank You for this night that I could visit You. Everything that happens is according to Your will for those who love You--even the campaign of ousting me at this time. May Your will be done. For a long time of reading every child's wish every Christmas, I realized that I am also a child in Your presence; and I have one wish to tell."
The face of the image of Christ looks peaceful, and His eyes are looking towards the light from above.
And Santa continued: "Master, I wish that every man would understand that I am not here to form a barrier against You. I have a happiness that I want to share to others; and You know that You are my true happiness. I am doing this not only because I want to make children happy every Christmas Eve, or to make the family happy in their Santa Claus decorations, and all other reasons. I am here to remind them that if they feel the goodness and happiness I bring, I hope that they would realize that there is a more infinite Goodness and Joy, for You have said: 'No servant is higher than his master." They may not see You in their merry-making, I hope that they may feel You through me while they decorate their homes in my image. I am just like a clown in a birthday party who brings happiness to all; and You are the birthday celebrant. As a clown, the only thing I could give to You is my duty to bring happiness. I ask for Your forgiveness if there are people who misunderstand my intentions for Christmas."
The light vanished, and someone went inside--the sexton. Santa and his reindeers also vanished.
"Mama! Mama! It's beautiful! Can we buy it?...Please...."
It's Christmas shopping again in a mall. Shining lights and figures of angels are everywhere--of course, also those of Santa Claus. But there is something new in their inventory. It seems that the Infant Jesus was satisfied and He granted Santa's wish that night. Indeed, that is a new figurine--and one of the most meaningful to display this Christmas: an example of humility and of submission that despite of one's popularity, it is God alone who should remain, and it is God alone who should be glorified.
That was the figurine of Santa Claus kneeling in front of the Christ Child.
(Francis Raymund Gonzales is the Overall Moderator of 100% Katolikong Pinoy Online Ministry. The story is the third installment of the "Ningning" Christmas series, which could be viewed here.)