I just got to be Santa for a Christmas bazaar in Nenana. The beard is real, but not the gray. I tried to use spray on dye to whiten it, but gray was as good as it got. Maybe two cans next year.
Merry Christmas! We are looking at a white Christmas. Growing up in Iowa, a white Christmas was never guaranteed. But with lots of snow and -20 to -30, Nenana gets a white Christmas every year.
The Troxels have a busy December, as most of you do too. Among other things we will: have two teens perform at a Christmas concert; a Christmas dinner hosted by the Nenana Ice Classic; village wide caroling; and a Christmas Eve party complete with a reading of the Christmas story.
Now for a few updates:
Yesterday I had the privilege of helping with Operation Ho Ho Ho. This event was one of the best out reaches we took part in soonn after we arrived in Nenana. This was our second year, and was wonderful.
Operation Ho Ho Ho distributes food boxes and presents to houses with a need in Nenana. Railbelt Mental Health & Addictions, a local counseling service, hosts the event. A wide variety of people and faiths are present for the event. It is a wonderful chance to spend time with other folks and help our community.
Several trucks traveled to Fairbanks in the morning and arrived back in Nenana shortly after noon. We met the trucks at the tribal hall and hauled everything inside. We then broke all the cases down and stocked tables almost like a grocery store.
After this, boxes were set up and filled with items. A total of 58 sets of boxes and presents were packed and delivered by 4 pm. A volunteer force of over 30 people made light work of the effort. On top of the blessing of helping our friends and neighbors, Railbelt provided free pizza and soda.
Often at this time of year, we can forget that giving is far too be preferred than getting. I must confess that Christmas can bring a list of personal wants to my mind. I am thankful that the Lord provides opportunities to give. We gave a few hours and a little effort and 58 families were also blessed.
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”Acts 20:35 – ESV
Just one year (and some months) and we see such a difference in our ministry here. When we go places, we know pretty much everyone and are known by the same. We are getting to know the events of the town and wee were already gearing up to enjoy the Christmas Bazaar.
A few days before the bazaar, I received a phone call from a friend in town and she started by asking me if I felt jolly. This was her way of casually asking if I might be the Santa for the bazaar. She was so busy trying to talk me into it, she didn’t quite catch on that I had already said “Yes!”
Later, she explained that she usually has to badger or guilt-trip someone into playing Santa. She also was really open to any hour I might be available. As it turns out, an hour is usually all she can get someone to take the job.
I played Santa for 8 hours. Not that I sacrificed “so much” – but I had a WONDERFUL time. I got to the civic center at 9:30, fully dressed and ho-ho-hoing away. I was given several cases of candy to give away and a comfortable rocking chair by the Christmas tree.
During the course of the day, I spent time with all the vendors. I handed out enough candy to keep the dentists in business. I also had about every kid in Nenana divulging their Christmas wish list. A lady was on hand to take photos and print them off there for 3 dollars. Also, people were encouraged to use their own cameras if they had one.
The sad part of the day was time with one young girl. Like most of the kids, she knew I wasn’t Santa. I work with all of them in AWANA and such – they all know my voice. It was just easier to pretend. She is feeling the holiday blues because she has been wishing for her mom and dad to get back together, but she knows now it’s not going to happen. Dad got married this summer to another woman.
I also was able to talk to some of the adults about the real Saint Nicholas and many of the things he believed. It’s amazing how God will use community events to provide ministry opportunities for his servants.
I was also asked to be the narrator of the community nativity – a new event beginning this year – as well as quiet requests that I might serve as Santa at other events this year and next.
We are so thankful for these opportunities to serve our community by being a witness of God’s love and salvation at this time of the year. Thank you for your financial and prayer support – because you are our partners in this work that God has graciously given to all of us.