The Christmas prayer
By Elizabeth Ludvik

The moment Christmas changed for me is still vivid in my mind. It was one of those days, deep into the heart of the Christmas season when it seemed that the holiday spirit had snuck off into hibernation. My mind was full of have to's. I have to buy the perfect gift. I have to prepare a mouth watering meal. My house has to be decorated just right. All of those have to's didn't leave much room for the real joy of Christmas.
Looking around the town square, it appeared as though I wasn't the only one who had lost track of the Christmas spirit. The people around me were short tempered and rude. They were pushing and shoving as though their perfect Christmas was dependant on this one last shopping trip. The shop keeper barley looked up as I paid for my purchases. It was clear that it was all she could do to get through the day.
Christmas music played in the background, but on this particular day the well loved songs of my childhood sounded more like a plea than an expression of joy. Even the weather seemed to have given in to the bleak mood. Instead of crisp pure snow, icy wind and rain soaked weary shoppers through to the bone, placing that one last straw on the camelís back. Stopping in my tracks I took one last look around the town square. An overwhelming sense of despair settled over me like a wet blanket.
I started walking past the shops. My mind was racing but my feet kept trod ding on slowly, taking me to the edge of town. It was as though my mind had disengaged and my soul had taken over. I donít know how long I walked, but when I finally looked up I found myself standing at the steps of an old run down church that sat isolated at the end of town.
Stepping through the doors of the old church was like stepping in to a forgotten time. The peace that filled the sanctuary was tangible. It rolled over me soothing my fractured soul. I sat just inside the doors letting the soft Christmas hymns wash over me as they played quietly in the background. The music in the church wasnít a plea. It was a celebration of joy and love.
The church was ancient but decorated beautifully. The most extravagant thing in the room was the antique angel placed on top of the Christmas tree. The light shining in through the stain glass window was the only illumination. The display was breathtaking perfect in its simplicity. It was humbling to compare my grandiose plans to this simple display of love. Looking around I was awed by the perfection of the moment. slowly I began to walk toward the front of the church. I wanted to get closer. Iím not sure what I was planning to do, but I felt an overwhelming need moving me forward. I had taken but a step or two when the sound of a voice so sweet and deep stopped me in my tracks. For the first time I actually looked at the altar in front of the church.
There, kneeling at the cross, head bowed and hat in hand was a man. A man I knew although I had never met him. As I listened to that old manís words, my world tilted and my priorities took some adjusting. No longer would the have toís fill my head. From this moment on my heart would take the lead. I would remember that it was love that birthed this special season and it would be love that would guide my steps from here on. Always present in the back of my mind , deep in my soul I will remember the words that I heard Santa clause pray, kneeling at the cross that very special night.
ďAll the work I do and the joy it brings, I dedicate to you lord. AmenĒ

The toymaker's new job
the story of how Santa clause came to dedicate his life to serving Christ will be available soon at