The little elf was very nervous. It was his first time on site and his confidence was low. While he had great success at the Santa Academy of Generosity, he felt a little unsure of himself. It might have had something to do with his nickname that the others gave him. Jasper was a unique and memorable name that could go down in history, but it seemed to stand out at the wrong times like Rudolph’s red nose.
However, Jasper was determined to make something of his name, especially since Santa called him by it as well. He worked extra hard at the academy and earned numerous accolades of hot coco and peppermint sticks. He was certainly on the right path in life and wanted to excel for the sake of every girl and boy expecting a visit from jolly old St. Nick.
It occurred to Jasper that he should practice his reduction techniques. After all, it was the hardest class to pass at the academy. Every elf struggled in his or her first few weeks trying to reduce down to the right size in order to hide from any child wandering from bed on Christmas Eve.
The goal was to remove just the right amount of space from between their molecules and shrink down so they could slip behind a ball ornament out of sight. Santa always reminded the students that hiding behind ball ornaments was ideal because if the child saw movement around the tree and investigated, they would see their own reflection change in the ball on approach. Children always assumed that the movement was just their own reflection, giving several seconds for the elf to escape.
Just before reducing, Jasper saw a letter to Santa on an end table. It was next to a few cookies and a glass of milk. He wasn’t familiar with the words on the letter, so he pulled out his E.L.F. pad (Electronic Language Facilitator) and scanned the message. The device quickly read back the following:
“Dear Santa, I’ve been a good boy, so can I please get my mommy back from where the angel’s took her?”
Jasper’s head dropped and a tear rolled down his cheek. It wouldn’t be long before the boy stopped believing in Santa Clause and Jasper could only hope that he would still hold onto faith, hope and love. He knew that all things were possible when people held those self-evident truths in their lives.
The door suddenly opened and without a single thought, Jasper condensed his molecular structure, shrank down to about two inches and slipped behind a ball ornament. He glanced around to find a reflective surface to watch what was happening.
Joe, the manager elf, walked in with a new recruit who was wide-eyed and eager to learn what his future academy experience would bring. Joe had a deep voice and was the last of the three most famous little elves known to Santa as Hardrock, Coco and Joe. They were with Santa in the early years when the North Pole was first set up as a base to make toys for girls and boys. Everyone knew them and was honored to be on their team.
Unfortunately, as happens with all good elves over time, they grow old and head off into the wilderness to live out their last days. Few ever saw the transition, but there were plenty of skeptics who couldn’t accept that every little elf, once past a certain age, would begin to grow to enormous proportions.
One explained that elves eventually lose control of their faculties and are no longer able to maintain their proper cute size, growing into large abominable snowmen. Few try to still fit in at the North Pole by placing stars at the top of the large Christmas trees lining the streets in town. Most simply head out into the great expanse looking for a place to rest their large frames. Hardrock and Coco both disappeared after the 60s.
Jasper listened as Joe explained a few of the key performance indicators that all elves must meet. He even heard Joe exclaim, “And, based on the exact alignment that generates the greatest positive emotional experience for all girls and boys, you can clearly see that this job was done by our best elf, Jasper.”
Joy welled up inside of Jasper after hearing such great words of affirmation. He wondered if the key to the season was more about being generous with words of encouragement and sharing love unsparingly throughout the community, than in sharing objects that fade with every new fad and seem to fall apart just before the next product release.
But there was no time for Jasper to think through those details, as he returned to work once Joe and the recruit left. Jasper was more determined than ever to make Christmas filled with so much joy that it would spill over into Valentine’s Day, giving Cupid a run for his money.
Positioning the last gift in just the right way, Jasper realized that the only merriment or happiness that could last more than a few days, was the joy that came from faith, hope and love being shared generously with all. With the boy now on his heart and mind, Jasper placed one special gift under the tree that would always remind the boy of the times he spent with his mom.
Jasper marked off his checklist and put on his soot protector. He positioned himself in the fireplace and clipped on his rip line. Within seconds he was lifted up into the moon lit sky, dangling from his safety line attached to Santa’s sleigh. He engaged his mini winch and soon found himself sitting on top of a bag of toys singing about Hardrock, Coco and Joe.
As the sleigh flew out of sight, words echoed throughout the town, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!” But only a few elves sitting in the sleigh knew that is was Jasper shouting out of love to help Santa keep his voice healthy for the longest day of the year.
Jasper quickly became the most confident elf, thrilled with every opportunity to spread Christmas cheer. It was even said of Jasper that he had faith that everyone hearing his story would share an encouraging word with a neighbor, hope in people helping make a difference in their community and the lives around them, and love for all mankind that they would desire to understand the greatest gift of all – Christmas.
M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S !