At the Harvest home peace was nearly non-existent. Upon finding about Michael’s belief and trust in Christ, John sat his son down and explained sternly that Mr. Noel was very foolish and knew not what he was doing. Now of course, Santa knew exactly what he was doing and so did Michael. However, the boy sat quietly, but with a great disagreement with his father. When he asked why it was wrong to follow Jesus, John voice rose in argument to silence his son. Mr. Harvest thought that was the end of it all, but one day he found his son flipping through the Bible. It was one of those books that sat nicely on the coffee table, was nicely kept in order, but not nicely read.
“What are you doing?” said John.
“Reading.” said Michael.
“Do you even understand it?”
“Not all of it,” said Michael with a smile, “but God will help me to understand.”
In a act of vicious cruelty, John snatched the Bible out of Michael’s hands, tossing back on the table.
“Go to you room!”
“Why?!” said Michael, “Why do you have to be so mean?”
“I SAID GO TO YOUR ROOM!” shouted John at the top of his lungs, “I don’t want you reading that stuff.”
Now Michael obeyed his father, running up the stairs with tears in his eyes. And at the same time a notion came to his mind that was very foolish and dangerous. He was planning it secretly and decided to take action two days before Christmas. Mrs. Harvest went to her son’s room to wake him up; for they were planning some last minute shopping. Upon opening the door she saw ( or should I say did not see) a terrible sight. Downstairs John heard his wife scream and ran frantically to the sound. In the room was an open window---Michael had run away. Mr. and Mrs. Harvest phoned everyone that they knew and those people phoned who they knew. Within the hour nearly the whole town of Moondale was in search of little Michael and for good reason too: Moondale’s yearly snow storm had started in the early hours of the day. The last person to be informed was St. Nicholas himself. Mrs. Harvest called the motel manager secretly, knowing if her husband had found out he would be furious. The manager informed Santa and without a second thought he was in his sleigh racing in the storm.
Santa prayed that God would open his eyes to find Michael. The snow was like a white veil making it nearly impossible to see anything. Three hours later there was no sign of the boy.
“See anything, Blitzen, anything at all?”
The reindeer grunted, which meant no. It was six hours now and still the boy remained absent. The sheriff of the town called everyone to return to the rendezvous point. Santa continued the search alone. He was about to give up when Blitzen jolted the sleigh.
“What wrong? I don’t see anything---its just an open field. Let’s go.”
This time Blitzen nearly flipped the sleigh over. He started to buck wildly. In haste St. Nicholas came from the sleigh and unhooked the reindeer. Blitzen bolted through the field with his master following behind him. The animal stopped near a small mound of snow circling it madly. Santa began to uncover the snow: first an arm, then a hand, and finally a heard---it was Michael! Santa pulled the boy into his arms and rushed back to the sleigh. Once Bitzen was hooked up again, Santa said :
“Off Blitzen through the snow! Show me the speed that God gave you---YAAAHH!”
The reigns were cracked like a whip and in a magnificent gallop, Blitzen tore through the storm with such speed that the white veil seemed to part graciously as if knowing a life was threatened.
The nearest hospital was twenty five miles away. Since visiting the area many times before, Santa had no trouble in finding it. The hospital was thrown into a frenzy when Mr. Noel came storming in with the boy. Doctor’s and nurses hurried along. Michael was taken from Santa’s arms and rushed off. He wanted to help, but was ordered to stay behind to allow the doctors to do their work. Old Saint Nicholas immediately informed Mrs. Harvest of his finding. After telling her husband, they did their best to rush through the snow arriving at the hospital forty-five minutes later. Santa explained how he found Michael. John listened quite thankful (but never saying it) of Mr. Noel’s kindness. The doctor met Michael’s parents in the waiting area.
“ How is he, doc?” asked Old Saint Nicholas.
“Surprisingly well,” said the doctor, “He’s stable now. He has some minor frostbite but nothing that will cause him to loss any limbs. Would you like to see him?”
“Of course,” said John rushing forward.
Michael laid quietly on the hospital bed. His fingers were wrapped to protect them and his face that was nearly blue was gradually beginning to show sings of recovery. There was much weeping from Mr. and Mrs. Harvest. Santa walked in. The moment he and John’s eyes met, Mr. Harvest spoke forcible and foolishly.
“Is this what God does?” said John gritting his teeth, “Trying to take my son from us!”
“John stop it.” said Mrs. Harvest in protest.
“I don’t know why Michael ran away,” said Santa “ but I have a notion that if you look in the mirror you’ll find the answer.”
“HOW DARE YOU!” John shouted.
“How dare I?” returned Old Saint Nicholas. “A boy wants his father to be a kind and peaceful man, to know God, and to go to heaven.“ Santa retrieves Michael’s letter from his jacket. “He didn’t want videogames or a new toy: he wanted his father to have a new heart.”
Santa tossed the letter on the bed.
“Read it to your leisure, sir, my time here is done. I will pray for your son before I leave Moondale. He’s a good boy and one of the best that I have had the pleasure of giving to.”
From there Mr. Noel left the hospital, got into his sleigh, and left in the storm. No one saw Blitzen’s flight back to the north pole, but he and Santa arrived early Christmas eve. He came into the house with a greeting from his wife who asked him how things went.
“Not as I expected.” he said, “This has been a request that has challenged me. I believe I planted the seed of the gospel to Michael’s father and God will in time make it grow. If I have failed, may God forgive me.”
“I know you did your best, dear,” said Mrs. Claus giving him a kiss on the cheek, “Are you hungry?”
“Did you make cookies?”
“Then I am hungry and a glass of milk will be appreciated too.”
Christmas eve came quickly and the main sleigh with all eight reindeer was ready to go. Santa cracked his whip; and with Rudolph leading the pack, the sleigh was off into the air. Old Saint Nicholas made his rounds across the world. He made a stop in Moondale, dropping off gifts to the children there. He had a special gift for Michael. Although the boy was still in the hospital he decided to drop the gift off at the Harvest home. So out on the housetop came Old Saint Nick and down the chimney he came quick. He saw the Christmas tree and went to place the gift down, but as he did he heard someone crying. Santa tip toed around the home until he came to the sound.
In his study was John, sitting down in a chair with Michael’s letter. He had no desire to disturb John, but the Lord tugged at Old Saint Nicholas’s heart again. So, he knocked on the door.
“Honey not now.” said John.
“Uh, I not your honey.” said the jolly old man.
John tuned around quickly with a look of terror on his face.
“Who are you?”
“Don’t be alarmed, John. Its me Mr. Noel.”
“I thought you were leaving. And why are you dressed in a Santa suit?”
“Well you are who you are.” said Santa. “Let me get to the point because I running a little late. I heard you crying and I happened to see that you’re holding Michael’s letter.”
John looked at the letter.
“Yeah. I---I never thought that my son wanted me to know God. Maybe….maybe Jesus isn’t as bad as I thought.”
“He’s not bad at all,” said Santa, “He’s the Master and the Good Shepherd. If anyone believes in him He will dwell in them and change them---its calling being reborn.
“Yeah, yeah I know all about.” said John looking down. “Will it count?”
Santa gave him a perplexing look.
“If I pray, will it count?”
“It always counts.” said Santa with a smile.
Old Saint Nicholas left the Harvest home, finishing his Christmas eve run on time. He returned to the north pole and after putting the reindeer back in the stable, his wife met him in the living room.
“So how did the run go--- perfect as usual?”
“Yes,” said Santa. “All the boys and girls got their gifts. Even God got a gift tonight.”
“He did,” said Mrs. Claus, “And what gift is that.”
“A soul.” said the jolly old man with a smile.