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12 Hours of Christmas – A Volunteer’s Perspective

” [ … ] when you decide to be the hands and feet of God, he performs the miracles.”

As I was preparing to write this blog post, I must have watched the 2015 12 Hours of Christmas video (seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKlxgvbplv8), oh, at least fifteen times. You know, for inspiration.

The statement above about miracles – I pulled it directly from the video – it’s totally true. I actually saw God perform two very distinct miracles at this year’s event. I did. If I hadn’t been paying attention to everything going on, I would have missed them. Why? Because these miracles did not come surrounded by blinking white lights and a loud Christmas processional. No, they came quietly, much like baby Jesus must’ve come all those years ago.

Before I tell you about these amazing moments that I witnessed, let me rewind. You should probably know that I was one of Santa’s many helpers during 12 Hours. My job responsibilities included, but were not limited to, interacting with Santa’s guests – children and adults alike – and ensuring that all of the letters written to Santa made it to his mailbox.

You should also know this. When participating families came in at 12 Hours, the kids and the adults were separated. While the kids played games and heard the Christmas story, the adults did, you know, top secret Christmas stuff. They all met back up to see Santa together. The kids even had the opportunity to write Santa a letter or two while they waited on their adults.

Now for the miracles. The first one happened like this:

A young mom, with her two small kids in tow, asked if she could use the wall outlet beside me to recharge her dead cell phone. She clearly wanted to make sure it had enough “juice” to capture her kids talking with Santa. “Do you want your kids to write a letter to Santa first?” I asked her this, in part because I knew her phone battery needed the extra time to charge. “No,” she responded politely. “They can’t write.”

A few minutes later, her kids were next in line. She hurried to unplug her phone, fidgeting with it for several seconds. It wasn’t charged enough to take a picture. “Oh no,” she said in a small panic, and I echoed her sentiment. Before we could both blink, her kids had hopped on Santa’s sleigh.

I knew I couldn’t offer her my cell phone camera. My phone is ancient and rarely cooperates. Oh, Jesus. I prayed silently. You have to do something here. She’s about to miss capturing this moment. I know she really wants this picture.

Not two seconds later, a Least of These staff member came through the hall. Knowing nothing of my prayer or the situation, she walked straight up to the young mom and offered to take the picture for her. (Might I mention that I only saw this staff member walk through the Santa Hall this one time.) BAM. MIRACLE.

Then Miracle #2 happened like this:

While their foster parents did top secret Christmas stuff, six or seven foster kids were spending a lot of time in the Santa Check-in Room. “We’ve been here a long time,” one of the kids’ child guides mentioned to me. The kids were getting antsy, having already written several letters to Santa each.

I couldn’t do much about the wait time, but I could try and help entertain the kids – ask them what they wanted for Christmas (to which the “star” of this miracle story mentioned cowgirl boots and a tablecloth), etc.

Amazingly, the room where the kids wrote their special letters was also a children’s library. Wall to wall stories, including the tongue-twisting Dr. Seuss. “Why don’t we read a book,” I said to my new friend, the “star.” And so we did … and she rocked it.

Once their foster parents arrived, the kids were ready. Ready for their time with Santa. As they made their way out to his sleigh, my book-reading friend got very concerned – where was her letter to Santa, written on purple construction paper with her name on it? In an attempt to calm her, her child guide mentioned that it was probably already in his mailbox. That answer wasn’t enough for her. She needed to look through his mailbox and find it.

I wish I could tell you that she found her letter. That she was able to give it to Santa herself. On the contrary, she likely thinks that it was lost and never delivered. But it wasn’t lost. It was found.

Once the crowd dispersed, I went on the hunt for my new friend’s letter. (Not only was it important to her that the letter be received; I knew it would be equally as important to Santa himself. And let’s be honest. It was important to me too.) Tucked in a high bookshelf was her purple letter. Relieved, I breathed a little easier. “THANK YOU, LORD!,” I said to myself as I placed the special note into his mailbox. Santa will see her letter now.

In closing, I’d like to say this: I wasn’t the only person that witnessed miracles at the 12 Hours of Christmas event. Ask any of the volunteers. If they really thought about it, I bet they’d say that they saw a few miraculous things themselves. The Lord can do that, you know. If we’re willing to be His hands and feet, He’ll show up. Sometimes quietly, but He always appears.

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