“Sam, my dear friend. I want you to know that I truly appreciate all that you and the team have done this year to ready us for yet another Christmas. Your work is impeccable and your spirit is perfection. I know you won’t understand what I’m about to say, but, friends, I can no longer go on with this charade. I’m no longer needed in this world of Christmas present, and can’t see how Christmas future holds anything better for me. I thank you all for your loving support of me over the years, but as of tonight, I will no longer be traveling outside of the North Pole to offer Christmas to others. Good night, my friends. I will see you tomorrow morning at our Christmas service.”
With that, Santa quietly walked back into his study, closing the balcony door behind him. Sam, without that silly little grin for the first time in his life, ran quickly into the kitchen. Mrs. Claus had a solemn look on her face as she took off her apron, and put her arm on Sam’s shoulder. “Sam, Nicholas told me about an hour ago that he wasn’t going to make the trip this year. We’ve been working hard all year to get him to change his mind, but you know as well as I do, that once that man sets his mind on something . . .”
Sam interrupted, “Martha . . .” (I believe this is the first time Sam the Elf has ever called Mrs. Claus by her first name.) “What should we do? Should I go up there and try talking to him again? Should I go in his place? Should I . . .”
“No, Sam.” Mrs. Claus replied. “Let’s let this thing take its course. Every fragrant flower has its season in the sun. Maybe our season is over. Maybe there is something new and different coming for Christmas. Let’s wait and see what happens. There have been far too many miracles around here over the years to try to make something happen now. Let’s get a good night’s rest and see what the morning brings.”
“Alright, Mrs. Claus. I’ll dismiss the elves,” Sam explained, “But seriously, if you or Santa need anything . . . anything at all during the night, just call. We’ll be there for you.”
“Good night, Sam,” sighed Mrs. Claus. “. . . and Merry Christmas.”
Mrs. Claus turned down the lights and went slowly up the spiral staircase. The door to Santa’s study was wide open. She peeked inside to find a solitary candle burning on Santa’s desk. She went in and snuffed out the flame, and then she closed the door to the study as she went back into the hall. As she entered the bedroom, she saw that all the lights had been turned off. Santa lay quietly in bed, breathing deeply, the warm down blanket covering him from head to toe. Martha assumed that he was sleeping, so she said nothing as she slipped into bed aside her husband. She thought it best to not disturb him right now with a lot of talking. Quietly, she whispered her evening prayers, only this time she added one additional phrase as she closed . . .
“God, please encourage Nicholas tonight. Give him Your peace. Amen.”