Why Are All the Santas Deflated?

This morning I awoke to bright sunshine and warm weather, typical of  Northern California at Christmas time.  I decided to take a bike ride through the neighborhood on my way to my favorite cafe, La Tartine, in the next town over.

As I pedaled my bike under a bright blue sky, I marveled at the Christmas decorations at each house-colorful ornaments hanging from tree limbs, dazzling in the sunshine, red and white candy canes lining the driveways and a slew of wire reindeer looking naked without their twinkling lights.

And then it struck me.  Many of the houses I passed had huge, inflatable Santas, faced down on the lawn. Why were all the Santas deflated? My mind raced.  Did someone pop poor old Santa as a prank?  But wait.  Frosty the Snowman was down also.  I grew more confused. Perhaps, I wondered, they were inflated with air each evening, only to dissipate like a melting snowman come light of day?

Then it dawned on me. We too are like those deflated Santas during Christmastime. We get all pumped up about the tinsel and gifts, the chocolate and peppermints, and the sparkling lights at night. Then we find ourselves depressed, with the air let out of us. Maybe, it’s an unkind word or act of meanness by our boss. Deflate.  Or most likely, that hurtful thing said by our dysfunctional family member.  Pop.   Perhaps, the school kids didn’t like our home baked cookies or even the Costco bought cookies  Flattened.

But there is good news!  We don’t ever have to be deflated again!  God fills us with His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, when we believe in His Son, Jesus, as our Lord and Savior.   He fills our hearts with Joy, Peace, Love, Patience, Kindness and Goodness. And hope. All the things Christmas is supposed to be about.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16.) 

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14.) 

Immanuel means “God with us.”  Jesus came to earth to dwell with us. He takes up residence in our hearts and promises to never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5-6.)   We can ask him to refresh our spirits and He will do so.  He will comfort our pain, encourage our discouragement, and shed grace and light on our difficult situation. We never lose His presence in us and He is immediately there when we ask anything of Him.

Do you want His joy, peace and love in your heart?  Wouldn’t this be the perfect time to accept God’s free gift of salvation, knowing Jesus came as a baby, just for you, to forgive your sins and reconcile you with God?

Yes? then pray the prayer below:

Dear Jesus:  I know I am a sinner and ask you to forgive my sins.  I invite you to come dwell in my heart as my Lord and Savior.  I want to be filled with your Holy Spirit and know you as my God.  Thank you for coming down to earth to save me and for loving me so much.  I love you Jesus.

Do you know angels are rejoicing in Heaven right now because you’ve entered the Kingdom of God as His child?  Merry Christmas-you have received the most perfect gift of all!

And a special Merry Christmas to all my readers and followers. May you be transformed by the miracle of His birth this season…

To see my Scripture paintings and greeting cards go to giftsofhisglory.com or click on ‘my art’ above.


A Childhood Christmas Revisited

Yes, I know you are saying “Christmas already Miriam?”  But yes, it is only 5 weeks away and as we begin to celebrate the miracle of our dear Savior’s birth over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, I would like to share an article I wrote and was published by my local women’s writers group.  This group is a sanctuary for me, where we write to prompts that our leader lovingly prepares.

My story reflects on my Christmas time as a child in the 1960s. I believed in Jesus as a young girl and knew that He was the reason we celebrated the season. My story also reflects on my Christmas time as an adult when I knew Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I invite you to discover both the magic and the miracle of Christmas in your hearts this season as you receive the ultimate gift of Christmas, Jesus.

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The prompt that day was “What was your favorite possession as a child?

My Favorite Possession as a Child – By Miriam Sarzotti

I turned the page excitedly of the Sears Christmas Catalog.  It was Christmas time and I wanted an Easy Bake Oven.  I was five years old and had seen it advertised on TV many times.

Easy Bake Oven circa 1966

Christmas morning I threw off the covers to see what “Santa” had left for me under the tree.  Sure enough, there it was, all bright yellow and shiny, sitting under my stocking.  It had four tin pans and cookie and cake mixes to bake.  That day I mixed my first mix, a pink sugary cookie. I slid the pan in and then slid another pan after it to ‘push’ it out into the cooling rack.  Amazement!  The cookies were cooked all by a light bulb.  The smell of heated plastic and sugar filled my nostrils. The cookies were soft and mushy tasting.  I was proud to be a cook and baker just like my mother.

Soon the mixes ran out so we ordered some more.  I waited patiently at the mailbox each day for them to arrive. I was soon to learn the frustration of this toy, not being so ‘easy’ to bake with.  Many times the pan fell off the track and dumped its contents into the bottom of the oven. My dad would have to take the screws off the back and fish out the tray.  I would start over, carefully trying to keep the tray on the tracks.

I remember one rainy day waiting for my friend Joan, who lived down the hill, to come play with me and my oven.  I was so excited!  I felt like the neighborhood princess to have such a toy to share.

Sadly, I outgrew my oven and it got lost in my possessions somewhere. Two Christmases ago I wanted to give the ‘little girl in me’ a childhood Christmas as a healing for my soul.  I logged on to EBAY and searched for the oven.  Surprised I found quite a few for sale.  I began nervously to bid on a yellow one with its original box and four pans.  On no, someone was bidding against me!  As the minutes round down, I made one last bid of $40.  Aha!  My strategy worked and I was the proud owner of a retro easy bake oven.

My EBAY find, just like my original yellow one, under the tree

my EBAY find, yes, my first one was yellow too!

I placed my oven under the tree, expectantly waiting to open it on Christmas Eve.  My ‘little girl in me’ was so excited to have presents under the tree just for her.

My tree

That Christmas Eve, I excitedly got out my oven and plugged it in. It was very hot to touch and I wondered if it would blow up!  Was it this hot as a child, I pondered, trying to remember.  Did they let us kids play with things like this in the 1960s?  I was afraid the plug was too old and it was malfunctioning.

Putting these thoughts aside, I marveled again how a light bulb could cook a cake.  I had also bid on some cake mixes, so I carefully slid in the tray. It was bent slightly from age and use, but I was able to get it through the oven.  Boy did that cake taste good!  Memories flooded my brain as I shared my cake with Jesus, whom I knew was fondly looking on. (By the way He liked it too!)

Me in front of Castle at Disneyland in the rain!

A few days later, I flew down to Los Angeles to Disneyland  to give ‘my little girl’ a very special Christmas.  After spending the day with CInderella and riding the fairyland train, I flew back home content. A miracle had taken place.  My heart was healed.

Cinderella and her Prince photo at Disneyland

After the holiday ended and the excitement died down, I put the boxed oven back in the storage closet, one day planning to give it to my own daughter to play with.  By then, it really will be an antique, but one that will always bring a smile to my face and put a little bit of Christmas cheer in my heart. I’ll remember the miracle the Lord did for me that Christmas and be reminded why we celebrate Christmas after all.

 

What is your favorite toy or memory of Christmas?  Was Jesus part of it?

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