Tag Archives: Christmas

Santa’s Disappointing Gift

Have you ever been disappointed by what Santa brought you for Christmas?  One year, as a small boy, I was disappointed.

Ralphie, the little boy in the movie, “The Christmas Story,” and I had a lot in common. He wanted a BB gun, but not just any BB gun. He knew every detail of the gun he wanted. He wanted a Red Ryder, 200 shot, range model, air rifle.

Like Ralphie, I wanted a bicycle, but not just any bicycle. I wanted the one that was pictured on the back pages of the comic book I was reading. It was the most beautiful bike in the world. It was a red Schwinn with white trim. It had a seat over the rear fender where a friend could sit and ride with you. It had a light on the front fender where you could see when it got dark. The handle bar grips set it off perfectly. They had beautiful red and white streamers coming out of them. That bike was beautiful, and it looked fast. It was my dream that Christmas.

Like Ralphie, I told my parents and anyone else who would listen about it. I even made a trip to the downtown Pizitz department store, and rode the escalator to the third floor to talk to Santa. I stood in a long line until I had my chance to sit in his lap and tell him exactly what I wanted.

When Christmas morning came, I was filled with excitement. My mother came into my room and said, “Come on, Bobby. Get up and see what Santa Claus had brought you.” I rushed into the room, fully expecting to see my dream bike. When I saw the bicycle by the tree, the words flew out of my mouth, “That ain’t no Schwinn!” Disappointment reigned supreme.

What I saw was a big green ugly bicycle with the name “Collegiate” on it. It was definitely not the Schwinn of my dreams. When I tried to ride it, I found that my feet could barely reach the pedals, and I fell over several times. Disappointment reigned supreme.

However, as the years went by, I learned to love that big ugly “Collegiate” bicycle. One of my first jobs was delivering shoes for McClendon’s Shop Repair shop on First Avenue North near Woodlawn High School. I delivered shoes all over Woodlawn, and Woodlawn Highlands. When Mr. McClendon wanted lunch, I had to pedal all the way to Mack’s Barbeque stand on First Avenue North and Sixty-Fifth Street where the railroad tracks crossed the avenue. They had very good barbecue. I did all of this on that big ugly “Collegiate” bicycle.

My second job was delivering newspapers for the Birmingham Post-Herald. My route covered part of Woodlawn, and all of Woodlawn Highlands. Once again, that big ugly bike made it possible for me to work.

I kept that bike until I grew out of the bicycle stage. It never broke down, or needed repair. It was the best bike I ever owned and the only one.

As I look back across the years, I learned several lessons from my disappointing gift from Santa. They are as follows:

  1. Everything doesn’t have to be new, flashy, or as advertised in a comic book to be good.
  2. Parents sacrifice for their children, particularly at Christmas. My parents were poor, but I didn’t know it. They bought a used bicycle from our neighbors, and took it to the Woodlawn Bicycle Shop where it was checked out and painted green. This was the bike they gave me for Christmas. It was all they could afford.
  3. I have regretted my words of disappointment on that Christmas morning. My parents must have been disappointed in my reaction to their gift. However, they must have known that over the year, I came to love and appreciate that bike, and the ones who gave it to me.
  4. As a young adult, I became a Christian, and learned that Christmas was snot really about Santa Claus and gifts. It was, and still is, about God, the greatest gift giver, and His greatest gift—His Son Jesus Christ. No one who receives Him is ever disappointed. Merry Christmas!

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a Christian author, retired minister, and public speaker who lives in the Birmingham area. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net



“. . . I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).

The “bah humbug” attitude toward Christmas is widespread today. The liberal pulpits have demythologized Christmas, while evangelical pulpits preach against it due to its pagan symbolism. They don’t like the pagan Christmas tree, the gluttonous feasts, the special emphasis on children, and particularly Santa Claus himself.
The Puritans hated Christmas so much that they outlawed it both in America and England in the 17th Century. Even some Baptists advocated dropping it from the calendar, charging it was pagan. But that is not true!
Christmas originated in the 4th Century out of the church’s need to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to all the world. Many of our Christmas customs do have pagan symbolism in them, but our Christian forefathers were very wise. They baptized those pagan elements and used them to help spread the Christian gospel.
When we think about Christmas, it is easy to see the connections. Christmas is a time of:
Lights—beautiful lights on trees and homes, and necessary lights for our safety and well-being. Jesus is the light of the world and He gives light to those who follow Him.
The Christmas tree—may remind us of a tree upon which Jesus died.
Parties and dinners—remind us of a Christ who hallowed feasts by his presence and is often called the Bread of life.
Family reunions—remind us that all Christians are part of the family of God, and as such will all have a happy reunion in heaven one day.
Emphasis on children—reminds us that Christ loves children, and that unless we become as a little child, we cannot enter God’s kingdom.
Santa Claus—comes from a land of snow white purity to give gifts to everyone. Jesus is the greatest gift-giver. He gives us life and that more abundantly.
I don’t now what you’re doing Christmas. But as for me, I am going to enjoy it. I am going to worship the one whom Christmas is all about, enjoy the beautiful music, rest, eat with family and friends, and show them how much I love them (hugs and kisses).
Merry Christmas and God Bless You.

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a writer and retired minister who is president of People for the Christian Way, a nonprofit organization, a ministry of helping people succeed through use of Christian principles and behavior. He can be reached at drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net



            A woman who evidently had a lot to learn was riding on a Milwaukee bus when she noticed the slogan, “Put Christ Back In Christmas” on a sign. “Gee,” she said to a friend, “even the churches are sticking their noses into Christmas now.”

           With all the commercialism of the season of Christmas, and the media’s emphasis on red-nosed reindeer, dancing snowmen, grenches, and Santas, it is easy for the real reason for the season to become lost. That may be why more Christian churches and families are beginning to celebrate Advent.

           Advent comes from the Latin word meaning “to come.” It is a time to prepare for God’s greatest gift, the birth of Jesus Christ. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas Day and is usually observed by using the Advent wreath. The wreath’s circle represents God’s love; the evergreens symbolize the hope of eternal life; the four purple or blue candles represent the four weeks of Advent; the white Christ candle in the center of the wreath is lighted on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. A short period of worship (scripture reading, hymn, and prayer) accompanies the candle lighting each week.

           There are at least three major areas within which Christians can meditate during Advent. First, we can ponder the initial coming of Jesus Christ to earth, the historical event and its revelations. Second, we can think long and hard about Christ’s personal coming to us, forgiving our sins, and giving us new birth. This can be a time of spiritual renewal. Third, we need to meditate on Christ’s coming in power and glory, the consummation of God’s kingdom, and the end of the world.

                    As we observe Advent, let us celebrate God’s gift of Jesus Christ and give thanks!


Robert Wilkerson, DMin is the founder of People for the Christian Way, and author of Characters of the Crucifixion, Lost America, and numerous devotionals and articles. He welcomes comments and questions through his email, drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net