The Christmas lessons kids teach

Sometimes children can make us see things so much clearer than we, as adults, often do.

That’s likely never truer than at Christmas when the mad rush is on and the stress tightens around our chest and across our temples, often squeezing the joy out of our thoughts because of the growing to-do lists that must be checked off before Dec. 24 rolls around

At various children’s programs in churches across the county recently, youngsters reminded their parents and all the adults in attendance that worry should not be the order of the day. And they urged everyone to slow down, enjoy the season and, most of all, not to allow the stress of the holiday to overwhelm them.

And in letters to Santa, which will appear in The Sampson Independent’s weekend edition tomorrow, Dec. 23, many of the youngsters writing to jolly old Saint Nick reminded us of the true spirit of giving that is at the very heart of this magical holiday season.

Some of those letters were sweet, some funny and others terribly sad, a reminder, too, that not all children are blessed to receive the brightly wrapped packages left under many trees, or fortunate enough to lay their heads down in an environment where they feel loved, nurtured and cared for.

Their words touched our heart and, sometimes broke it, as the reality of the times in which we now live resonated once again.

Here’s one example, from a first-grader:

“Dear Santa,

I need a house for my family so I will have a place to live. May I have a bed and I will be good this year. I need some clothes, too.”

In that short, poignant letter, we are reminded of the world in which we live, a world where giving to those less fortunate at Christmas and throughout the year still needs to be a priority in our lives. For that first-grader, having a place to live is far more important than the latest high-tech gift, the X-Box or the smartphone.

There are others, too, who ask for the things so many of us simply take for granted, yet another reminder of what we should be thankful and the prayer we should lift, asking that others have the same: a warm bed, a roof over their heads, food on their table and love.

Here are a few more touching requests, ones we hope Santa pays special attention to this Dec. 24:

• One little girl asked Santa for a teddy bear so she “could feel safe at night.”

• Another pointed out that his deepest Christmas wish was to see his brother in heaven one more time.

• Still another second-grader noted that his biggest Christmas wish was for his family to be happy. “That’s all I really want, Santa,” he noted in his letter.

• Another child requested nothing except that Santa provide some shoes and clothes.

In many, the main request was for time with family and friends.

Out of the mouths of babes!

In their remarkable innocence, children of all races, walks of life and ages reminded us, in simple but eloquent words, of what’s really important at Christmas — loving one another, being together and sharing in the warmth and joy that this wonderful time of year brings.

While adults often make it about the presents, stressing about being able to afford the latest gadgets, in truth, children usually want, more than anything, for us to be there for them.

Sure they would love presents. What kid doesn’t? But it’s more than about the gifts; it’s about the giver.

Christmas is truly about giving. It’s about loving others, helping those who need it the very most and being there for all those who love and need us.

If we keep that in mind as we prepare for the next few days, we will find the joy that should always be a part of this wonderful time of the year,