(Part 4 of 4)

After giving his problem some deep thought, Santa suddenly came up with an idea. He’d use Rudolph to guide the other reindeer. Slowly they would back up. In doing so, they’d gradually back the sleigh off the roof until it touched the ground. Then he’d unhook the team, fly them down and hook them again to the sleigh. But first he had a delivery to make to the house below the roof he was now stuck on.

Sliding down the chimney he carefully set the presents around the tree. There was a talking doll for AnnaMay, a wind-up train for Ella and a big coloring book for Mia. For Nina he left a pretty winter sweater, and for their parents he set a tool chest under the tree for their Dad and a shiny necklace for their Mom. Not forgetting, he also left a bag of doggie treats for Fido.

Then, instead of laying his finger aside of his nose and nodding his head, in order to rise back up the chimney, he simply used the front door to leave and meet up with his team who were already outside waiting on the ground. Once they met, off they went on badly bent and heavily damaged runners. Very slowly, and exceptionally cautious, they proceeded to the legendary football field of the University of Notre Dame.

Carefully advancing to the football field in a sleigh filled with toys, the team of reindeer and Santa, himself, passed by many homes decorated for the holidays. One in particular caught his attention and caused him to pause. There on the lawn, outside the front door of a Cape Cod bungalow, was a life-size manger scene with a fully dressed figure of Santa Claus holding his tasseled cap and reverently kneeling on one knee in front of the Babe of Bethlehem. Pausing for a moment, before continuing onto the field, he recognized it as the reality of Christmas. In doing so, Santa himself, also holding his cap, knelt down on one knee in humble adoration to the Christ Child. 

Now, with a renewed spirit of love for all humanity, and with a heart filled with peace and joy below the mosaic image of Christ with his outstretched arms, Santa donned his heavy duty work gloves on the field, and tried straightening the runners, but was unsuccessful. That was when Rudolph once again came to the rescue.

Using his red nose, he shined it in Santa’s face and then went to an inside corner of the sleigh and blinked his nose continuously. Santa understood. The special box built into all the sleighs held the magic repair kit. In using it, he adopted some of the glistening white snow from the football field to use as a magic formula; much like gold dust that leprechauns use and pixie dust that fairies use. Holding the snow over the magic repair kit, and then the repair kit over the bent runners, he bowed his head and offered Divine words, asking for Heavenly help.

As the winds still whipped feverishly high above the stadium, below on the calm field Santa worked efficiently trying to fix the sleigh runners with his magic repair kit. It worked. The runners straightened and looked as good as new. That was when Rudolph remembered the goodies Mrs. Claus sent along for the first team of reindeer. He divided them equally among the eight. Needless to say, they loved them, particularly the specially made oatmeal carrot cookies from Mrs. Claus. As they chomped on the hard fresh carrots they started to feel revived. In time they were feeling much stronger.

Then the most amazing thing happened. Right before Santa’s eyes, the antlers of the first team of reindeer began to repair. The pieces that had broken off were fixing themselves. The hard fresh carrots gave them the extra strength they needed. Now there was no need to use the slower second team. He could send them home at their own speed. The faster first team would still be able to finish the deliveries in time for all good little girls and boys to wake up with presents under their trees.

He quickly surveyed the situation and realized it was the hard, fresh carrots - or rather the lack of hard, fresh carrots - that caused their antlers to become so soft that they broke off. Then chuckling, he remembered Rudolph’s love for this healthy vegetable and how he once caught his young red nosed leader helping himself to the other reindeer carrots whenever they weren’t looking. He’s learning, Santa thought about Rudolph. Nevertheless, I’ll still have a good talk with him when we get back. But not until they returned. Santa suspected Rudolph already knew he may have been part of the blame and surely he must’ve felt badly.

In finishing his deliveries, Santa never missed a home that night, and all good little girls and boys, including those in the Akron/Canton area, and all the way to the East Coast received presents under the tree. Upon returning to the North Pole, each reindeer attempted to tell their own version of what happened. Mrs. Claus tried understanding them, but they were so excited their words were running together, and so she asked Santa what they were saying.

When Santa started explaining, at first Mrs. Claus thought they had crashed. But, after a hot chocolate and some of his wife’s oatmeal carrot cookies, Santa finally was able to share the complete story with Mrs. Claus.

Remembering the life size mosaic of Christ on the one building facing the field that was just behind the goalposts, and how he paused a moment to get down on his one knee and give adoration to the Christ Child lying in a manger, Santa added how someone more powerful than him must’ve been watching over them and all the good little girls and boys in the world. And Santa was so thankful.

As for Mrs. Claus, she felt as if she had received the greatest Christmas gift ever when she realized how grateful she was that Santa still understood the real magic of Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

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