“Whatever you do, don’t frighten the children,” the manager told them sternly. “Not even if the parents want you to!”
Armed with this advice, Alex started his first day. The very first child that arrived, parents in tow, screamed blue murder the moment he set eyes on Alex’s fine new Santa outfit and long white beard. Nothing would pacify him. Not the parents’ admonitions to “be a brave boy”, and not Alex’s own attempts to console the crying child.
Eventually, in despair, Alex hit on an idea. He began to peel off his “uniform” bit by bit, starting with the white beard. The child stopped crying, and watched him, fascinated. The red hood was removed, and a young and rather embarrassed face came to light. The glasses were removed, and two twinkling, youthful, blue eyes appeared. The red robe was discarded, and underneath it was an ordinary lad in jeans and a sweatshirt. The child looked on in amazement, until he was soon laughing and relaxed.ot the parent’s admonitions to “be a brave boy”, and not Alex’s own attempts to console the crying child.
Once the relationship between them had been established, Alex started to put the “uniform” back on again, and as he did so, he told the little boy of how, a long time ago, God himself had come down to live on earth with us, and so that no one would be frightened by him, he had come in very ordinary clothes and lived the life of a very ordinary child. The boy listened, wide-eyed.
Soon, it was time to move on. The next customer was waiting. The boy’s parents moved away, rather disgruntled. “What a shame,” they said. “It’s spoiled all the magic”.
“The end of the magic, perhaps,” mused Alex, “but the beginning of the wonder”.