A True Christmas Story

Posted In: Blog

When I was a child, I knew a little boy who was a bit of a troublemaker. Let’s call him, “Fred.”

Oh, little Fred wasn’t too much of a rapscallion. We’re talking about an elementary school kid here. But he was naughty. He had a knack for sneaky misbehavior. He didn’t always obey his teachers and parents.

Sometimes Santa doles out lumps of coal - and not for warming purposes.

Sometimes Santa doles out coal – and not for warming.

One Christmas morning, Fred and his sister ran to their living room to open their presents. Sure enough, Santa had visited the home, leaving behind a nice pile of gifts. After seeing the gift bounty under the Christmas tree, Fred quickly moved on to his stocking, which was hanging by the fireplace. There he made a shocking discovery.

The little boy’s stocking was not filled with candy and toys, but rather with LUMPS OF COAL. There was even a polite but firm note from Santa that referenced the need for the boy to be more obedient.

Lumps of coal? Santa's sending a message...

Lumps of coal? Santa’s sending a message…

This was kind of like that scene from The Godfather… You know the one: when the bigshot Hollywood movie producer wakes up to discover his own prize racehorse’s bloody severed head lying in his bed. Santa sent a message, alright.

Sure, Fred enjoyed his Christmas day. He was richly rewarded for his good behavior. But lingering in the back of his mind was that stocking full of coal…

This is what a stocking full of coal feels like.

Santa’s message spread to other local kids as well. At the time, as a fellow member of the kid community, the event was a wake-up call. (“Did you hear about Fred? Yep, coal in his stocking…”) It was a “shot across the bow” heard by kids everywhere.

This incident drove home the idea that Santa was not only watching (“he sees you when you’re sleeping, you know…”) he was sometimes doling out LUMPS OF COAL instead of toys and candy. The big guy wasn’t fooling around.

We kids all resolved to watch ourselves.

In hindsight, I think this was a rather brilliant move by Santa Claus. He delivered a necessary message to Fred without casting a complete pall over Christmas day. Fred still had a happy Christmas with plenty of toys to enjoy. But he also knew he’d better straighten up. Bad behavior had consequences.

The last I heard, Fred got the message. He cleaned up his act. In fact, he grew up to be a successful young man who fathered a few children of his own. By all accounts, Fred is an upstanding member of his community. He’s now running the family’s insurance business.

The moral of the story? The world might be a better place if, from time to time, Santa doled out a few judicious lumps of coal.

Sound harsh? Think of Santa in terms of the universe and life. Sometimes it’s best if we don’t get everything we want.

Hmmmmmm… There’s your deep philosophical thought for the day.

Merry Christmas to all! Travel safely and enjoy the holiday!

Merry Christmas to all! Travel safely and enjoy the holiday!

Merry Christmas to everyone, far and wide. We hope that you’ve all been good little boys and girls, and that Santa saw no need for lumps of coal in your stocking.

Gifts and coal aside, at this special time we remember the true reason for the season – and it has nothing to do with material possessions (other than gold, frankincense, and myrrh).

Wherever you may find yourself, we hope you are enjoying the companionship of beloved family and friends. Travel safely and enjoy this special time of year.

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