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From the editor's desk: Remember God, not Santa

December 23, 2010

Dear Santa, “My baby cosin caleb needs a new heart because half of his heart is not thayr. He ben so good. He doesn’t need to have half a heart.”
Dear Santa,
“I want a Xbox because I never have one before. I want a cote for my family in vitnam beause I don’t want dem to be called. I want my mom and dad to stop fighting each other. Santa you our the best man ever. I was good Santa.”

Santa letters are published yearly in the The O-N-E. Children across the county are asked to send in their letters, and we get hundreds. As the staff types in the handwritten letters, the newsroom is full of laughter at the spellings of words, such as “labtop” and “dalmashen.” But this weekend as I typed Santa letters, I found myself with a deeper burden that wasn’t echoed with laughter.
Letters, such as the two shown at the top, are real letters written by children in Catawba County. The spelling was how the child wrote the letter, which adds to its authenticity. The O-N-E chose to keep the spelling as is in all Santa letters.
A deeper meaning behind the spelling is these children have real issues at hand that they want Santa to help them with for Christmas. One child in the first letter only wants her cousin to have a whole heart for Christmas. The other child wants his family in Vietnam to have coats for the winter months and for his parents to quit arguing.
Honestly, these two letters stopped me in my tracks. My 70-plus words a minute on the keys of my laptop came to a halt, and I just sat on my couch with the handwritten note in my hand, fighting tears.
Often times, adults think children have no sense of what is wrong or they don’t understand. It’s clear that these elementary-age children know exactly what it’s like to carry a burden and to see people suffer.
After I stopped typing the letters, I thought, “I sure do hope these children take their cares to God.”
In today’s world, Santa Claus is a big deal to a lot of children. I grew up thinking Santa Claus was real. Often times, even after reading Santa letters for The O-N-E, I think children put way too much emphasis on Santa and who provides for them daily.
Santa Claus, for those who celebrate Christmas, has become so materialized that children think he carries the answers to every need, such as healing a heart and working out a marriage. That’s not true.
How every child is raised changes from parent to parent. I’m not going to criticize parents for telling their children about Santa Claus, but just make sure you keep God in their lives, too. He’s the one they need. God provides all necessities year round, unlike a make-believe character.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

LaDonna Beeker is the editor of and a columnist for The Observer News Enterprise. Her column appears in the Friday edition of The O-N-E.

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