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The Cleaner, The Missionaries and The Baby

I'm currently listening to some quiet Christmas music whilst lying down relaxing. It's one more day of being the big ole guy in the crazy red suit and whiskers. One more day until the birth of Jesus is celebrated.

In my job as Santa, I have the privilege of sharing genuine love and hope to many children. It is a truly wonderful thing to be able to encourage smiles and laughter from people of all ages. Often, the ones that need it the most are the ones who are the most silent. It is a personal passion to seek those people out and show them how special they are.

It doesn't matter who I talk with, I gain from every conversation as the famous saint. Regardless of age, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of skin colour religion, age, gender or creed, I want them to know they are beautiful. Santa is a universal icon who is meant to represent all that is good in the world.

This year there have been many highlights. Three stand out in particular. The first one involved one of the cleaners at Ormiston Mall. She works so hard and does so with a smile that reflects a tiredness but determined nature. As Santa I went up to her and put my arm around her. I whispered my thanks for the amazing job she did.

The lady told me she had to work long hours for her children and no matter how tired she was, her children were her motivation. I find it difficult to fully comprehend the motivation factor because I have no children of my own. However I found myself wanting to implant whatever strength I had into her. Every day I make a point to remind her of how special she is. I hope in some way, it may help.

The funny thing is that after I return to just being Pete, I walk past her and she doesn't know I am also the big ole guy in red who wants to make her feel better about herself. I'd rather keep it that way so the magic that is Santa can be kept virtually sacred.

The second standout involved a group of LDS (Mormon) missionaries. There were two young men and two young women. One boy and girl were from Utah, the other boy from Canada and the other girl from West Aussie. I saw them having a burger in the food court near the Santa grotto in Ormiston.

I decided to approach them, but wasn't sure if they were able to interact with the with my alter ego. They welcomed me so I was relieved. Now I deeply admire LDS missionaries because of their incredible commitment. I don't believe in their version of Christianity, but that matters not. The fact is that these four teenagers had come thousands of miles to live out a commitment. In any sense of the word, that ain't easy. To me, these four young people have something that the world should take notice of. Put simply, that is the commitment to follow a passion.

I told them how much Santa admires them and how they set a great example for young people. I know they must get abused, verbally assaulted and at times physically intimidated, and wanted them to know they are valued as human beings regardless of their religious beliefs.

The four young people were gobsmacked that Santa admired them so much. One of the girls welled up a few tears that were obviously needed. I was incredibly aware that it was not appropriate to give her a hug from Santa so just put my hand on her shoulder and let her know Santa cared. It was quite an emotional moment for me as well.

Today I held a wee four month old bahy in my arms for a photo. When the family approached, she had been asleep and had not long woken up. The little girl was therefore crying and looked agitated. In moments like this I am very aware that the child has full and absolute priority. My role is to give comfort and peace, not fear and discomfort. Therefore I was reluctant to pick her up but the parents gave me their daughter before I had time to think.

I held the tiny girl and gently rocked her. Her crying stopped and she looked into my eyes with an infant innocence. I looked at her and for some reason I began to cry. Now it's pretty obvious that Santa can't cry.. after all he's the jolly one. However I couldn't help it. Here in my arms was a miracle. A life not yet comprehending what lay ahead or what dreams even were, let alone what hers may be.

As I held the little girl, she closed her eyes and began to sleep again. The parents were astounded and told me that I was the first person to rock her to sleep like that. My tears became rather large drops that were becoming noticeable. One of the amazing girls who took the photos noticed and started taking charge. She knew what was happening and arranged the parents in position for photos.

The parents went to choose the photos and left the baby in my arms fast asleep. I just stood there rocking the new life and blubbering like an apparent fool. However, I didn't feel foolish. I felt something incredibly special and moving. This little bundle of cuteness was entirely dependant on the way I held her. The proud parents were entirely trusting me with their baby.

The responsibility and privilege given to me was powerful and humbling. I wondered how I would feel if that little baby was my daughter. I may never know what it is like to have a son or daughter. Life has not given me that gift. However the little girl today gave me a brief glimpse into a infinitesimal fraction of what it may be like.

The circle was complete. The cleaner, the missionaries and the little girl became one. The motivation and joy that comes from a life of commitment can never be underestimated. The cleaner doing it for her children, the LDS missionaries fully committed to their beliefs and the commitment of the parents to their little daughter are all motivated by love.

If the world could grasp the concept of true love and be committed to showing that love, maybe anything could be achieved. Maybe though, this is an impossible dream. But maybe the cleaner, the LDS missionaries and the baby girl are fleeting moments for me to understand hope. It is my hope that that love can and will create miracles.

After all.. isn't that what Christmas is about?

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