“No we don’t.”
“Yes we do!”
“No, we don’t.”
Alfred entered the lounge room where the two small children were arguing. “Alfred, we have Christmas so we can all get presents, don’t we?” Roy insisted, rushing up to the elderly man.
Alfred peered at the large green eyes staring up at him with such all consuming innocence and then glanced across at the eight year old sitting on the mat in front of the fire. “Is that what you two are arguing about?"
Roy nodded vigorously. The youngster had come to stay for Christmas as a result of the JLA being called away to 'save the world'.
"So you think it is about presents? Dick? Why do you think we have Christmas?”
“We have Christmas to make sure everyone goes to church at least once a year.” Alfred burst out laughing. Dick's face fell. “That’s what Barry told me,” he whispered.
Alfred patted Roy’s head, walked across to Dick and lifted him to his feet. “Come and sit with me boys and let me tell you why we have Christmas Day.” The children followed him to the lounge chair and sat down on either side of the elderly man.
“In a way, I suppose you are both a little bit right. Let’s see. Christmas.” Alfred rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Let’s take each letter of the word Christmas.”
“Why?” Roy asked.
“Because each letter stands for something special about Christmas. They are the clues that will tell us why we have Christmas Day. The first letter is…?” Alfred asked, turning to Dick.
“Right. ‘C’ is for the Christ child who was born on Christmas Day.”
“Baby Jesus,” Roy agreed. “And everyone brought him presents so that is why we get presents,” he added in triumph.
Alfred smiled. “’H’ is for Heaven’s angels who let people know that the Christ child had been born.”
“And the people took presents and that’s why we get presents.” Roy directed his comment to Dick.
“’R’?” Dick asked, now intrigued.
“’R’ is for redeemer. Ummm, how do I explain that? Jesus was sent by God to save us and redeemer means save. Do you see?”
Dick nodded. Roy shook his head. “So he was going to save lots of presents for us?” the child asked.
Dick smirked at Alfred.
“’I’ is for Israel, which is the part of the world where the Christ child was born.”
“’S’?” Dick asked. “That would be the star?”
Alfred nodded. “Good boy.”
“Star?” Roy asked.
“When baby Jesus was born there was a star in the sky that showed everyone where to find Him,” Dick explained.
“Ohhhh. Yeah, I know about that. It showed them where to leave the presents.” Roy leaned back into the sofa, becoming sleepy.
“’T’ is for the three wise men who travelled from the east to see the Christ child.”
“And they brought presents,” Roy yawned.
Alfred adjusted a pillow behind sleepy youngster. “Yes, they did, Master Roy. Gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
“No toys,” Alfred chuckled.
“’M’? Dick asked.
“’M’ is for the manger where Jesus was born. The most important king born in a simple stable. Things aren't always what they seem.”
“’A’?” Dick asked.
“’A’ is for ‘All’ He stands for. Love, hope, peace, goodness…”
“Presents?” Roy asked, rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand.
“In a way. They were the gifts God gave us when Jesus was born. And finally we have ‘S’. Any ideas, Dick?”
Alfred shook his head. He stood, took Dick's hand and led the child across to the window. “Look up there in the sky. Tomorrow night, the ‘S’ will appear.”
Dick eyed the butler. “Do you mean…?”
“Yes. ‘S’ is for Santa.”
“Santa?” Dick asked surprised. He was old enough to have heard the rumours. “But I thought…” he stopped and glanced at Roy who was suddenly wide awake again. The other youngster was beaming.
Alfred smiled. “Santa is God’s gift to every child. He is the symbol of unselfish giving. He brings presents to remind us of the gift God gave the world on the first Christmas. The man in the red suit just does his bit to spread love, joy, happiness and a lot of hope.”
“Lots of presents!” Roy cried, bouncing up and down with excitement.
Alfred sighed and then looked down on Dick. The child was intuitive and he seemed to understand. “It is about presents, son, but not the sort that are wrapped up under the tree.”
Dick nodded, reciting carefully, “The Christ child, Heaven’s angels, Redeemer, Israel, Star, Three wise men, Manger, All He stands for and Santa.”
“Together they spell Christmas and that, boys, is why we have Christmas Day.
“And we get presents,” Roy reminded. Alfred squeezed Roy's shoulder, affectionately.
“When he isn't so excited, he’ll understand more,” Dick defended his friend.
Alfred nodded and smiled. “Now, it’s time the two of you went to bed.”
“Two more sleeps,” Roy chirped.
“Only two more sleeps until Christmas,” Alfred agreed as the trio entered the boys’ bedroom. Alfred pulled up the blankets over Roy.
“Can we have a story, Alfred?”
“Of course. What would you like?”
“Huge green monsters eating the world, but Ollie and Bruce save us.”
“Can you tell us about Baby Jesus?” Dick asked as Alfred tucked him in.
The grey-haired man smiled and his eyes flashed. “The first Christmas. You know, boys, that is my very favourite story and do you want to know why?”
Roy’s smile broadened. “Because it’s about presents?”
Alfred winked at Dick. “Yes, Roy. It is my very favourite story because it is all about the greatest, most wonderful present ever given.”
Roy nodded. “When God gave the world Baby Jesus.” Dick and Alfred both looked at him stunned. “What? That’s what you meant, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, Roy, that’s exactly what we meant. That’s exactly what Christmas is all about.”
“Yep, that and presents!”
Dick and Alfred both burst out laughing. “That... and presents,” Alfred chuckled.