A gift from Santa

Last week I was at Mala Strana to take photos during Santa’s annual visit at the nursing home. I took a few shots of Santa visiting with some youngsters, got a little information, then went to visit my mother and my aunt before leaving to take pictures elsewhere. On my way out, I stopped back to get one more photo with Santa and some children.

As I started leaving the door, I was stopped and said that Santa wanted to talk to me.

I joked that he probably wanted to give me a special present… and he did. That present was a story.

Santa was visiting with a group of youngsters, and when they left, he called one of them back and introduced me to her. She was 13-yearold Lindsay Bisek, daughter of Dan and Amber Bisek. Santa said that Lindsay has had a couple unusual requests for Christmas gifts the last few years. Two years ago she wanted money to help people in a homeless shelter. She received some money which she then donated.

Last year, Santa said, Lindsay asked for something special for her great uncle, Ed Hrabe. The visit with Santa had come just a couple weeks after The Times had run a story on Ed, who was in need of a kidney transplant.

"Last year I asked Santa for a kidney for Uncle Ed," she said. "Santa and I talked, and we decided the best thing to do was to pray," she said.

A little more than a month later, a match for Ed was found and Ed underwent a kidney transplant surgery in February.

"I hadn’t told my parents what I had asked Santa for, but when I found out, I told my parents my wish had come true," she said.

Santa told me that Lindsay was a a selfless girl who was happiest when getting gifts for others.

* * * * * I would be remiss if I didn’t take some time to talk about our annual Christmas section. Each year, we ask students at area elementary schools to create drawings that capture the spirit of Christmas. Unfortunately, we can only use a small portion of these drawings. There were 217 of these drawings featured in this year’s Christmas Section, along with letters to Santa, messages from area clergy, a schedule of Christmas services in area churches, stories and photos about the holidays. Take the time to look through the 16- page section and see the creations of these youngsters, and thank the advertisers who make this possible.

* * * * * Christmas alway seems to sneak up on us. One day we’re recovering from a filling Thanskgiving meal and looking over our gift list and trying to take care of all the decorating, and it seems like the next thing you know, you’re scrambling to get those last-minute presents, cleaning up the house to get ready for company and planning the menu for the family get-together. There’s always so much to do, it’s easy to forget the reason we celebrate the holiday. Christmas isn’t about lights, gifts, and gorging ourselves with food, it’s a time to celebrate the birth of a child more than 2,000 years ago whose teachings and guidance have shaped much of the world.