What Would Santa Give Me Now? - Poem by Nathan Thompson
Dear Nathan Sr.
Hello again, we haven't corresponded in a while. I see you are doing your best to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in your heart, but I also sense a deep sadness that has settled upon you like a heavy stone. You must learn to put down the burden you carry, if only for a while. There is a great battle raging inside of you and it is tearing you apart from the inside. Still, you manage to keep a stiff upper lip most of the time, but I see the tear in your eye, and I feel the pain in your spirit. I wish you could see yourself the way I see you.
When I look back upon your life, I see the many, many, people that have been blessed by their acquaintance with you. Starting with your own siblings. Even at a young age, you learned to instinctively share what you had with your two older brothers, expecting nothing in return. And when the two of them began to bully your little sister, you were there by her side, her knight in shining armor. You learned early to be strong for the weak, and to be a beacon of justice for the disenfranchised.
At the age of six, you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, much to the joy of your parents. Your parents were impressed when, at age eight, you entered an art drawing contest, and became the winner of an expensive set of encyclopedias. Your mother learned to count on you, because you always seemed to keep your room clean, help out with chores around the house, and clean up after the pets. You went to work at age eleven, and saved your money, and always bought your own tools to use in the garage. Your many paper-route customers grew to depend upon your consistently great service, and some of them offered you extra work doing mowing, raking, and weed-pulling. You always created your own economic reality, by the work of your two hands. Your father taught you the value of a dollar, and you didn't disappoint him, especially that time when, at age 17, you handed your father the total sum of $140 you had to your name, because he needed it, and he commented in amazement 'you have saved up more money than I have ever had in one place at one time! '
You blessed your employer Mr. Mutrux by faithfully serving him for 4 years on weekends during high school, and he taught you everything you know about the tool business and trades. Years later, in his honor, you put on your own job training project for young men, using your own resources and the expertise of your clients. After you started your own business, and in response to her own failed attempt at business, you blessed your mother by funding several thousand dollars over several years to support her retirement.
After you got married, you never forgot to bless those less fortunate. You spent a week on the Hopi reservation with the Nazarene group, refurbishing a home. You spent another week helping refurbish a school on the Cherokee tribal lands. You went twice to build homes for destitute families in Tijuana Mexico, and the second time, even helped raise the $4,000 it took to buy the materials. You even funded and created a charitable foundation to help with projects like these. You helped raise funds to send dozens of kids to summer camp.
Then there were the many, many employees blessed under your tutelage over the years. You helped one of them start his own welding service business, and another, purchase a whole wardrobe to replace his worn-out clothing, and even sent the same gentleman and his wife on a weekend getaway to the beaches of central California.
Even so, I watched as both of these employees turned on you because of their own covetousness. I saw your father turn on you because you stubbornly clung to the Christian faith he taught you as a boy, but then rejected later in his own life. I watched your mother do the same, but worse because she kept sending you awful letters attacking your faith. Even though everyone in your family eventually rejected their Christian faith, you stubbornly hung onto yours. That faith was severely tested when your oldest son Nathan Jr. was born and almost died more than once due to congenital defects.
I watched as the weight of the burden you carried began to become a heavy yoke upon your shoulders.
I watched as the tears flowed the day the fire dept. shut down the job training program you had spent a year building. I know the disappointment was overwhelming, and it broke your heart. I saw the anger well-up inside you when you came to the realization that overbearing government was becoming the biggest threat to not only your primary business income, but the foundation charity work as well.
Still, you soldiered on, never giving up, but always moving forward. Even through severe discouragements, you always tried to keep the Christmas spirit alive. Like the times I saw you bring the homeless into the fast-food place and treat them to their fill, then run home to retrieve coats and socks to return to give to them. Your son Nathan Jr., after surviving many emergency hospital stays, somehow noticed your charity work, and it rubbed off on him. The two of you rang the bell for the Salvation Army Red Kettle, filled your trunk with wrapped packages for those saddened at Christmas season, and didn't forget to take Granny with you to Christmas plays and pageants. And just days before your father-in-law died, you and the kids showed up at his door singing Christmas carols.
Still, all of this was against a headwind of trying times in your new struggling business in Colorado. Evil men claiming to be fellow Christians lied, and cheated you in your partnership dealings with them, and in the end, you were all alone, trying to put all the pieces back together. Nobody offered any money, help, or even kind words of encouragement. Still you endured that four-year depression, and stubbornly kept your faith.
But the years of discouragement were plainly evident now. I heard you say more than once 'I'm not going to help that person very much, but only a little. Besides, the people you help the most in life end up hating you the worst.'
I understand why you feel that way, after being betrayed by both parents, several employees, business partners, and even close family members. I cannot offer much comfort in your assessment of the state of mankind. Except to agree that your assessment seems to be true.
Look at the life of your own Savior. He blessed them, healed them, taught them, loved them, and even brought life itself with his words and teachings. Still, they hated him and hung him on a tree to die a terrible death. Myself, I bring the encouraging message and cheer of Christmas each year to all who will share in it, only to see more and more people reject the message of Christianity with each passing year.
The battle raging inside you cannot continue forever. The burden you bear is too heavy for one man to carry alone. I know you have tried to talk to others about this, but they don't understand. But I do understand, because I have been doing this for many, many years now: lifetimes actually.
You see, instead of saying to myself 'they reject my kindness, and in the end, will hate me for it', I have adopted a different motto. Yes, they rejected the Savior, and killed him in exchange for His kindness. But that is not the end of His story. If He had stayed dead, it would have been the end of His story. But the message of Easter is that He overcame death and the grave, so that WE can do the same! My motto: 'I choose to bless them anyway! '
And this message of hope that Christmas and Easter bring, is the only thing that can change the heart of man. Jesus endured even death on a cross, but found it within himself to say 'Father, forgive them'. It took more than a mere man to offer this kind of forgiveness. It took a God/Man. And this God/Man says to you 'forgive them, so that you may also be forgiven', and 'forgive us OUR debts, as WE forgive our debtors'.
That is my gift to you at Christmas. That is my message to you, and is what I wanted to tell you. You need to hear this and take action, because there are dark days coming. Rampant Evil is making a comeback upon the earth, and swiftly. 'As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the coming of the Son of man'. You need to continue the good work you started and not faint in the times of testing. My message will increasingly become an illegal one. They may even outlaw Christmas. When that happens, I'm counting on you to pick up the torch in my stead, and spread the good news of Christmas to any who will listen. Keep the spirit of Christmas alive in your heart, and never forget.
Your friend, who sticks to you closer than a brother,
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