This story first appeared on my blog here, but re-reading it now reminds me that this season is about more than gifts or sparkle, it is about hope.
Jack was one of the saddest little boys I had ever met and as a case worker for the department of social services I had met a lot of sad little boys.
When Santa (played by my husband) and I rolled up to their house that Christmas Eve all of his brothers and sisters came running out to greet us but Jack stayed inside making zooming noises across the floor with a toy car.
We gave out all the presents and he never looked up until Santa said (in his best Santa voice) “I have one present left. Where is Jack?”
Jack stepped up to receive his present and when he saw it was three small cars he looked at Santa with a tear in his eye and rushed to hug him.
For the first time since I had known Jack I caught a glimmer of hope and I knew that he was going to be okay.