* "Chew on This: Fifty-Two Inspirational Points to Ponder" is a book of inspirational short stories by Gary Brock and Kelly Tuck, and is available for purchase here!
*Words of wisdom for inspirational thought are at the end of the story!
“Okay, everyone,” Santa began at the annual “After Christmas” debriefing, “another really great Christmas season. A job well done to everyone!” A round of applause sounded throughout the Great Hall. After a few moments of cheer, Santa held up his hand to silence the crowd and turned his attention to the reindeer. “I’ve been thinking, and next year I want your boys to pull the sleigh. It’s time to put those young fellas to work and see what they’re made of.”
A murmur of exclamation, confusion, and shock ran rampant through the group of reindeer, which reached all the way back to the elves, who immediately huddled together to discuss in hushed voices the unexpected announcement.
“The big question is,” Santa continued, stroking his long, white beard in pontification, “who will lead the team? Will it be your son, Dasher? Or yours, Dancer? What about yours, Prancer, Vixen, Comet? Or yours, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen? Which one will it be? Will it be Frank, Jose, Pete, Luyao, Chris, Tom, Jermaine, or Rudolph?”
Santa paused as the reindeer exploded with declarations of whose son should receive the honor of leading the sleigh. The elves buried themselves deeper into their huddle. Santa held up his hand once more and a hush fell over the reindeer.
“We have an entire year for one of your boys to prove that he has what it takes to lead our team. We will also be flying in a new formation... more of a triangular fashion instead of a rectangular one. I have been thinking the ‘one, two, two, three’ formation will be more wind dynamic, allowing us to cover more ground in less amount of time. That means, of course, the lead will have an extremely important responsibility for the well-being of the team as well as Christmas itself.”
The reindeer were silent.
Santa clapped his hands. “Meeting adjourned everyone! Enjoy a much deserved break!” He turned to the reindeer once more. “When you all get home, be sure and tell your sons what we’ve discussed. And tell them that Mrs. Claus and I will be watching.”
North Pole was soon abuzz, as Santa’s grand plan for the next Christmas Eve’s run was the hot topic of conversation. All the elves in the workshop argued who they believed would become the next lead deer. Bernard, the senior elf supervisor, even set up odds and began taking bets.
Throughout the year, the young stags did everything they could to gain Santa’s favor. Whatever Santa said, they agreed with. Whatever Santa wanted, they fell over themselves and each other trying to get it. They washed his windows, polished the sleigh, cleaned his house, took out the garbage, offered a handkerchief every time Santa even thought about sneezing, decked his halls, trimmed his trees, and brought his groceries home from the store. You name it, they did it.
“I will be so glad when you announce your decision,” Mrs. Claus told Santa one night, “because, I swear, it has gotten to the place that if you open your mouth too wide there are reindeer eyes staring back at me.” Santa only laughed, although he knew it was true.
As the months continued, the young reindeer continued to be at Santa’s beck and call. Well, all except for Rudolph. Some of the elves noticed that Rudolph was not playing the “reindeer games,” as it had come to be called around the North Pole. Rudolph was less concerned with being noticed and more concerned with quietly completing acts of service he noticed in and around the North Pole. If he saw something needed to be done or someone needed help, he did it all in stride, expecting nothing in return.
“Dude,” Bernard advised Rudolph one afternoon, “you better get with it, or you’re going to be on the back row pulling that sled. Believe it or not, I have a bunch of money riding on you.”
Rudolph grinned. “My father always says ‘be yourself, be an original,’ which I have really taken to heart since I have this red nose to deal with. I have just decided it’s better for me to continue to be myself and to not get caught up in the chase to the top of the sleigh.”
After almost three hundred and forty days of “Santa butt kissing” from seven upstarts all trying to make a name for themselves, Santa was finally ready to announce his decision. At the “Celebration of the Christmas Season” festival held annually on the first day of December, Santa began by chuckling.
“Well, it has been a very interesting year, wouldn’t you all say?” A rumble of agreement rambled through the crowd. “I had no idea when I made the announcement last year that I would witness such energy,” he paused before suddenly frowning and shaking his head, “such hoofing on one another, such antler tooting, and such patronizing behavior.”
He gazed down at the young reindeer before him. The heads, only seconds before held high, dropped down towards the ground. All except Rudolph’s. Santa’s eyes shifted to land on him.
“After much deliberation, observation, and thought, I have decided that the lead deer for this year’s Christmas Eve will be none other than...RUDOLPH!”
A gasp sounded from the group of reindeer while the elves burst into cheer.
“What?!” exclaimed Frank.
“Unbelievable!” cried Jose.
“Unreal,” muttered Pete angrily.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Wong retorted with an eye roll.
After all I did?!” blurted out Bert.
“After all you did?” Tom argued. “How about after all we did?!”
“Wow, I can't believe this!” Jermaine shook his head in disbelief.
Santa silenced the crowd. He turned to the angry reindeer. “In order to be on a team such as this, you must work together instead of fighting against each other. You must build each other up instead of putting each other down. You must lead by example and not be afraid that others may not follow you instead of jumping on the bandwagon. Rudolph has shown these qualities through acts of selfless service. He has proven himself this year to be the most capable of leading the sleigh.”
Rudolph smiled graciously and bowed his head toward Santa. At the end of the hall, Bernard could be heard telling all the elves, “Pay up, pay up,” because...
* * * * * * *
Santa’s favorite reindeer has a red nose
and is not a brown nose.
* * * * * * *
*Chew On This: Fifty-Two Inspirational Points to Ponder is available for purchase here!