🎄 Christmas Cookies
by Maria Taormina
Mrs. Claus was trying new recipes for Christmas cookies. Santa held a plate with five cookies, a cup of coffee and the newspaper. He sat down in his recliner and adjusted the chair back a bit. This was one of his favorite things. As he tasted each cookie with a sip of coffee he was saddened at the news on the front page. ISIS again had captured a reporter and were going to set him on fire. There was a picture of a child also being recruited to be a member of that group. Santa thought of what Jesus had said last Christmas. How Satan roamed the earth.
Santa thought of the joy that filled his heart bringing gifts to children, their happiness and excitement celebrating Christmas. How could this be? He thought of all the people who had died during all the wars. Now this. Getting into the politics of situations was something he didn’t do. He thought of what Jesus had said, “To love one another as I have loved you.”
The paper fell to his chest, and he dozed off. His chair leaned back a little further, his coffee cup still in his hand, he was dreaming.
They were all in a line. A man with a mask covering his face was screaming at them. Hatred filled his voice as he spoke about the western ways, about Allah. One man was put in a cage, tied so he couldn’t move. Terrified, he knew in his heart this was the end. He thought of his family he would never see again. He thought of the job that had brought him here. “Jesus Christ, my King and Savior help me. You are my God in whom I trust!” His heart beat faster than he thought it could. A flammable liquid poured on his body. His face looked to the Heavens. “Jesus, you are my refuge!” A match, flames, screaming. Was it his voice or the others? He was not sure. Pain unbelievable pain and the smell of burning flesh. Where was he? And then a hand on his shoulder.
There was silence. No more pain. He felt a peacefulness and overwhelming love he could not explain. He looked down and saw himself afire. But there was such peace, and then he saw the light. He was illuminated.
Santa horrified by what he was dreaming tipped back further in his chair. He was there watching, unable to do anything to help. His hot coffee spilled out of the cup and onto his beard. “Ahhh! Ahhh!” He jumped causing the chair to jolt forward, the coffee cup landing on his lap. His arms caught in the pages of the paper. Jarred awake, he slid off the chair onto the floor, breathing heavily, as tears streamed down his face.
As Christmas approached, he busied himself with the tasks at hand. He thought of the children who he would bring Christmas gifts to and also to the ones being trained to do Satan’s work. How could both exist in this world?
On Christmas Eve Santa sat inside the coffee shop. As she had done for years, Elise left his treat of hot black coffee in a thermos with a coffee cup, a turkey and veggie sandwich in her lunchbox as well as the newspaper, set on the table. He took out the bag of cookies from his pouch that Mrs. Claus sent along. He scanned the front page of the paper, a new president in the United States, protests, and also news of ISIS. He thought of his dream.
“Such a happy night and you seem unsettled, my disciple.” Jesus said softly.
Santa startled, his cup starting to spill. He grabbed the cup at the same time as Jesus. His hand grasped Santa’s and the cup. Jesus looked at Santa as if he was looking into his soul. A peaceful feeling came over him.
“Do not be troubled. I am with you, as with the journalist. He is in Heaven and at peace,” Jesus said.
“Those children should be eating Christmas cookies, playing and laughing. They should know you. Instead they are being trained to kill.”
“There is free will, and Satan walks the earth. It is a daily battle, I will not do alone. Remember Santa, pray, serve others and speak of Jesus Christ your King.”
They finished their food in silence. Jesus picked up a star sugar cookie and took a bite. “Mrs. Claus makes great cookies! It’s a good thing that tonight you have that red nosed wonder at the front of your sleigh. There’s nothing more picturesque than a snowy night on Christmas!
“You are fascinated by that red nose.” Santa laughed. He turned the cup around as he and Jesus looked at Elise’s delicate artwork painted around the coffee cup. On one side Santa by a Christmas tree and on the other, Jesus in a manger, with Mary and Joseph, the three Wise men in the background and the Star of Bethlehem shining brightly in the sky. Above the scene the words, “Jesus Christ is King!”
They stood and Jesus placed his hand on Santa’s shoulder, gazed at him and walked away. Santa looked down to put the cookies back in his pouch and when he looked up Jesus was gone.
The day after Christmas Elise arrived early at the coffee shop to get her thermos and lunch box. She unfolded the newspaper and the headline read, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. He is Jesus Christ the King!”