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The Illusion of Christmas

Albert Pink

Christmas is the most delightful time of the year, and everyone, especially Christians, expects it. I say Christians because we celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem in these long-awaited days.

The Christian word comes from Christ. Jesus Christ, called the Nazarene, was born in Bethlehem; his family was from Nazareth, an underprivileged city in Israel.

I know many people are waiting for the Christmas season but are not necessarily religious. They expect it because the environment is transformed these days into something astonishing that we cannot describe. The atmosphere is festive, and everyone wants to share with their family and friends.

There is nothing better than getting into the Christmas mood. Even if it is only for a few days, the season’s charm allows us to forget our sorrows and difficulties.

Everyone enjoys these days, but no one feels more the spirit of Christmas than the children of the world. Just thinking that Santa will arrive on December 25 with gifts makes children feel like the most fortunate kids in the world.

Back in my time, the poor children of my community only received presents from the Three Wise Men. Now things have changed a bit, but I’m sure some children only receive gifts from the Magus, which is impossible for a child to understand.

In my country, children expect the day of the Wise Men with chief anxiety, which is on January 6. The celebration is mainly in Spanish-speaking countries; this inheritance comes from Spain. This celebration is a tradition that the Spaniards celebrate with unique events.

In 1885, the Government of Spain convened a parade to honor this special festivity. From then on, everyone celebrated it with different activities. In the New Testament, the Gospel of Saint Matthew tells us that these characters gave myrrh, gold, and incense to Baby Jesus. The Kings don’t bring gold to children now; they bring original gifts, which children enjoy with much pleasure.

Each country celebrates this tradition in different ways. In some places, children leave their shoes outside their bedrooms, and the kings bring them a present. In my country, children leave a shoebox with fresh grass for the camels, and I’m sure other countries have different traditions. Hispanic children celebrate the Three Wise Men because this day is magical.

I want to tell you the story of a child who only received gifts from the Magus, and as a child, he never understood why other children received presents from Santa Claus but not his sisters or him.

I will go to the past to see how this child waits for the Three Wise Men. All these events you will read about are accurate, and the Magic of Christmas makes them possible for you and me.

It was not Christmas season yet, but this child was thinking only about The Three Wise Men.

Mother: Do you like the shoes I bought you to go to school?

Child: Yes, I like them, and I think I will keep the box.

Mother: Why do you want this box?

Child: I want to keep it, to put in the grass for the Magus’ camels.

Mother: But it is August, and the Wise Men come in January.

Child: Yes, I know that, but I don’t think I’ll have other new shoes before January, and I want to have the correct box before that day.

Mother: Where are you going to keep it?

Child: I’m going to keep it under my bed, but don’t tell anyone. I don’t want someone to take it.

Mother: Don’t worry, Alcan; I will tell no one where your box is.

Arcan put the shoebox under the bed. The days passed, and he would take it out from time to time to ensure the box was in good condition. The months passed, and December arrived. One day when he left the school, he saw many children running, and a girl screamed.

Girl: It’s Santa Claus, and he is handing out candy.

Alcan: What, who is Santa Claus?

She did not answer him, so the boy ran too to see this character he had never seen or known. A fence divided the courtyard of this place and the road, which was full of children. The children started calling Santa and introduced their hands to the fence wires. Santa Claus approached them and distributed candy; Alcan did the same. When Santa got to where he was, he passed by and didn’t give any candy to him. The boy took out his hand and disappointedly went on his way. The same girl was by his side, enjoying her candy, and Alcan asked her again.

Alcan: Who is Santa Claus?

Girl: You do not know who Santa Claus is?

Alcan: No, I had never seen him before.

Girl: Santa Claus is the one who brings us gifts on Christmas day.

Alcan: What? He has never brought me anything.

Girl: He always brings me toys. You may need to behave better.

Alcan: Maybe; that’s why he didn’t give me any candy today, but I behaved well.

Alcan kept walking and came to his house. Without wasting time, he told his mother.

Alcan: Today, when we left the school, Santa Claus gave candy to the children.

Mother: And what happened? Did he provide you with one?

Alcan: I extended my hand when it passed close to me, but he did not give me any.

Mother: Surely, he didn’t see you.

Alcan: But a girl who was next to me received one.

Mother: Don’t worry about that. The Three Wise Men will come soon and bring you, sweets.

Alcan: Why that Santa Claus never come to our house? A girl told me he brought presents for her last Christmas day.

Mother: Santa Claus is for wealthy children, and we are not privileged. The Three Wise Men are the ones who bring toys to your sisters and you.

Alcan: Yes, I know; but I don’t understand why Santa Claus doesn’t bring toys to us, too.

The days passed, and Christmas Eve arrived. The entire neighborhood celebrated with great enthusiasm. Family gatherings were everywhere. As always, this boy and his older sister went to his aunt’s house to watch television. There were lots of people on the street. They arrived at their aunt’s house, sat down, and their aunt asked them.

Aunt: What did Santa Claus bring you?

Sister: Nothing; Santa Claus is for rich people. We are poor.

Aunt: And you, Alcan, did Santa Claus bring you something?

Alcan: Nothing; I didn’t know that Santa Claus existed; he has brought nothing to me.

Aunt: Don’t worry, the Wise Men are coming.

Alcan said nothing but wondered why the so-called Santa never came to his house. He thought it was unfair that some children received gifts, and he got nothing. He would have liked to meet this character and ask him in person, but he never had the opportunity to do so.

The month of December passed and arrived on January 5, the eve of the Magus’ celebration. Alcan got up early and searched under his bed to ensure the shoebox was where he had left it. At sunset, he went out with his sister to find grass for the camels.

Alcan: Where are we going to look for grass?

Sister: Let’s go to the league. That’s where all the children go to cut the grass.

Alcan: I’m going to take mommy’s scissors with me.

Sister: No scissors are needed to cut grass. You can tear it off with your hands.

They reached the plot of land everyone called the league, which looked abandoned; the grass had grown a foot tall. Alcan hid the scissors from his sister and continued walking.

Sister: Look, our cousins are cutting grass. Let’s go with them.

Alcan: No, I want to find green grass by myself.

The boy began looking for the grass along and saw a place where the grass was green. He carefully cut some pieces with the scissors he was carrying and kept looking for something better. He searched and searched but found nothing; there were too many children where the grass was greener. He began talking aloud.

Alcan: That grass over there is green, but those kids have already trampled it. I better go somewhere else because I don’t want that grass.

Alcan kept looking for something better. Time passed, and her sister approached him with their cousins. His sister told him.

Cousin: We finished.

Alcan: I still need a little more time.

Sister: Let me see how much you have.

Alcan: No, I don’t want anyone to touch my grass. If you move it, the camels will not eat it.

Alcan’s cousins laughed at what he said. His sister went over and looked inside the box.

Sister: But if you have cut almost nothing.

Alcan: I have not found green grass.

Sister: We have to go back home. Come on; we’ll help you find the grass.

Without Alcan being able to say anything, all the children cut grass with their hands and filled his box.

Sister: Here you have. You already have your grass, so let’s go home.

Alcan: This grass is not good; I don’t want it.

Cousin: Why isn’t it right? It is green.

Alcan took the box with grass, looked at it, and spilled it on the ground. All the children looked at him, surprised.

Cousin: But why are you doing that? We are leaving, and you will stay alone and without grass.

Alcan: I want to cut the grass by myself.

The children left, and only her sister waited for Alcan to finish. About half an hour later, Alcan finished.

Alcan: Well, I’m ready to go home now.

It was already dark. Alcan’s sister looked at him but said nothing; they returned to their home. Their mother was waiting for them.

Mother: But why did you take so long to return home? I was worried about you.

Sister: I finished fast, but Alcan did not find any good grass.

Mother: But the league is full of grass.

Alcan: I didn’t want anyone to touch my grass.

Mother: What? You only have to pour water on it, and the grass will stay fresh.

Alcan looked for water, poured it on top of the grass, and then put the box under his bed. The hours passed, and the family was ready for bed.

Father: You must go to bed early and fall asleep for the Magus to arrive. If you don’t fall asleep quickly, the Kings don’t bring you anything.

Everyone went to sleep, but Alcan wanted to see the Kings. He also thought about what his father told him, but he only wanted to see the Mages. It passed about an hour. Everything was quiet, and Alcan was waiting for the Kings. He was very sleepy and closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them, it was daylight already. He looked at the floor and saw some presents. The emotion was so great that he went to wake up his sister.

Sister: What do you want?

Alcan: The Wise Men have already arrived. Let’s see what they left us.

The house was still dark, and neither could turn on the light switch. It was very high for them, but Alcan jumped and could turn on the light. With prominent emotion, they saw the presents.

Indeed, the gifts were not very important. The important thing was that the Magus had arrived, and they did not forget them.

The illusion was not in receiving quality or many gifts; instead, the fantasy was to know that someone remembered them.

Alcan looked at his box of grass and saw with satisfaction that although there was some grass, most of it was not there. The camels had eaten it. He looked at his sister’s box and saw that the camels had eaten more grass from his box than his sister’s; mission accomplished.

The Christmas season isn’t complete without the anticipation of opening a present. It makes no difference if we are young or old; knowing that we are loved is what matters most. The gift itself is irrelevant; what matters is the thought that goes with it, saying: “You are important to me.”

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