I once met a summertime Santa Claus. I have a photo to prove it. Back in the day, say when I was about five, my family drove from Nebraska to Colorado. I remember fuzzy bits and pieces of that trip, but my favorite memory is meeting Santa Claus at the North Pole nestled at the base of Pikes Peak. One look at this photograph on my fridge and I’m escorted back to that summertime surprise.

 

Chillin’ with Santa

Summertime Santa sported his two-piece red suit with hefty black boots and white fur-trimmed hat. But he had to be sweating a bit even at the cooler mountain altitude. I was certainly chillin’ in my sleeveless red and powder blue shirt with matching powder blue skirt. Although I can’t see my shoes in this photo, I bet I was wearing my navy Keds.®  Such a youthful fashionista!

If you look closely, you’ll notice how enthralled my brothers and I were (we didn’t care if Santa had a grey beard and was giving his deodorant a workout). Dan was proud of his new golf-style straw hat. Doug and I rocked our embroidered “North Pole” red felt elf-style hats.

 

We Could Trust Him

In this photo with Summertime Santa, I especially love our innocent looks (no Naughty or Nice List in sight). Dan, Doug, and I couldn’t keep our eyes of Kris Kringle. We literally were leaning in to hear his every word. And look how Santa is holding Doug’s hand. Awww. . . .

You know what? Even though we had just met this jovial stranger, we knew we could trust him. Was it his kind eyes? His soothing voice? His grandfatherly demeanor? Perhaps all of this and more.

Now five-plus decades later, I gander again and again at this family classic photo and I wonder about that day at Colorado’s North Pole. The family-themed amusement park is still there and other Summertime Santas continue to greet children and adults from all over the world.

Now that I’m all grown up, I realize there is much more to Christmastime than greeting a gray-bearded Santa with kind eyes and a soothing voice. These days I’d much rather nestle near the real headliner of the Christmas season. And I wonder: What would it be like to have such child-like trust of Jesus? How eagerly would I lean in to hear His every word?

Would He hold my hand and tell me how He took care of my Naughty or Nice list? I think He would. I’m also confident that He would reassure me that although 2020 was a rough year for the whole planet, better things are ahead.

Now that’s the kind of fatherly advice I want to hear this Christmas. Perhaps you do too.