A gust of cold air blew in Millie’s face, sending a chill all the way through her body, but she still went on stubbornly. Her hand gripped her older brother’s firmly, and the two children bent their heads to the wind and snow.
Matthew Stuart looked down at his little sister and smiled. He was the oldest in his family at age seventeen and he had willingly agreed to help his sister in this little escapade of hers.
She had been persistent, but mysterious about the whole thing, so naturally Matthew was curious and excited as he led his six-year-old sister up the stairs and opened the big doors of the department store: their destination. Millie seemed to know exactly what she wanted and marched directly up to the information desk where a woman peered down at her from behind a pair of spectacles.
“How may I help you?” the woman asked.
Millie looked at her with her big blue eyes and smiled. “I’d like to see Santa, please.” She said.
The woman gave a slight start and looked at Matthew who stood behind Millie. “What is she talking about?” she asked.
Matthew laughed, suddenly realizing what his sister meant to do. “Oh!” he exclaimed. “She probably wants to ask Santa to bring something to someone in our family.” He said, winking knowingly at the woman. She nodded.
“I see.” She looked back at Millie still gazing at her solemnly and smiled. “Well dear, Santa is only here on Mondays and Thursdays, you will have to come back then.” Millie’s shoulders sagged, and her eyes started filling with tears.
“B-but, it’s awful important.” She said.
The woman frowned thoughtfully. “I’ll see what I can do.” She turned from the children and called to an assistant who was hanging some holiday sweaters up on a rack. “Sophie!” the assistant came over with a smile. “I’d like you to let ‘Santa’ know that he has a customer.” She gave the assistant a wink and whispered with a nod in the direction of Millie, “It’s very important.” Sophie laughed and left. The two children sat down on a nearby bench and waited patiently for Sophie to come back.
* * * * *
When she arrived, she had a big grin on her face, and told them that Santa could see them now. Millie’s eyes lit up in happiness and Matthew took her hand again as they followed the assistant up the flight of stairs that were behind a door that read: Employees Only.
Sophie let them into an office and shut the door gently as she left. The two children were alone. A jolly man faced them, clad in a red jacket with white fluff all around it, a red hat, and a fluffy white beard. Matthew smiled to himself quietly, but Millie just stared at the man until it seemed as if her eyes would pop out of her head onto the floor.
“Are you really Santa?” she asked dubiously.
The man laughed. “Ho, ho, ho! Who else would I be?” he asked.
“Not Santa.” She declared firmly, not convinced.
The jolly man smiled. “You’re a very smart girl. Come, sit on my lap.” Millie accepted the invitation. “What’s your name?” he asked.
Millie smiled. “I’m Millie Stuart.” She said and then pointed to her brother, not wanting to leave him out. “He’s my biggest brother, Matthew.” The jolly man winked at Matthew.
“Well, well, well. A fine strong lad he is too.” He said. “You wouldn’t have anything you want for Christmas would you?” Matthew smiled but shook his head. The jolly man looked down at Millie, snuggling confidently in his arms. “Don’t be shy now, you wanted me for something, what was it?”
Millie looked up at the jolly man doubtfully. “I’m not sure whether you’re Santa or not.” She said carefully.
The jolly man looked surprised, but thoughtful. “Let’s pretend I’m Santa and you tell me what you want, alright?”
Millie’s serious blue eyes looked up at the jolly man’s face. “Ok.” She said finally. “I want Daddy to get a job as his Christmas present.” There was a gasp from Matthew, and the jolly man was speechless for a few moments.
“I-I’m not sure I can do that.” He stuttered at last.
Millie frowned. “Then you can’t be Santa.” She said darkly. “Santa could get my Daddy a job easy.”
The man smiled at Millie. “Well, now, I could try.” He said at last.
Matthew looked at the man. “Could you really?” he asked, his eyes shining. “Dad really needs it, Mom says that we can’t have Christmas unless he gets one soon, and Christmas is only a week away!” The man smiled at the two children, and set Millie back down on the ground.
“I’m not sure if I can, but I’ll do my best.” His eyes twinkled, and he pulled off his fake beard and red hat, showing a perfectly normal person under the disguise.
Millie’s face fell. “You’re not Santa!” she said.
The man laughed. “No, I’m not, but I think I can do more for you family by being Mr. Samuelson.”
Matthew’s jaw dropped. “You’re the manager?” he asked in amazement.
Mr. Samuelson laughed at his surprise. “Yes, and have no fear, I’ll do my best to have your daddy get a job. Here at my store if I can manage it.”
Millie jumped up and down, her eyes shining. “Oh, Mr. Samuelson! You’re better than any ol’ Santa!” she exclaimed and gave him such a happy smile that Mr. Samuelson felt thoroughly repaid for his act of kindness. Matthew stood still, as if stunned by the wonderful news, but once he came to himself, he ran up to the manager and shook him by the hand heartily.
“Mr. Samuelson, if there’s anything I can do to repay you…” he started, but the manager waved off his offers.
“No, no.” he said with a smile. “You’ve repaid me enough by letting me help you, I haven’t been so happy for a long, long time.” Millie took the hand of the manager and the hand of Matthew and started dancing around in a circle.
“We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
And a Happy New Year!”
She sang happily, and soon Matthew and Mr. Samuelson joined in. In no time Mr. Samuelson had become fast friends with both of the children, and they left the store in a much happier state of mind then when they arrived.
Matthew walked home with his head in the air, and a smile of pure bliss on his face. Millie was equally, if not more, happy than her brother, for her wish had indeed been granted, and she was sure that this Christmas was going to be the best she had ever had.
* * * * *
Little did Millie know how much she had really helped by thinking of others more than herself. By being unselfish, not only did she help her Dad get a job, but she helped her Mother worry less, she let her siblings have Christmas, and she brought joy to a lonely store manager at just the time when he needed it most.
God bless you all! And Merry Christmas! :)
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And HIs name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.