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Santa Claus or Jesus

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, May 4.

By Andrew McChesney


leven-year-old Kamila walked up to a woman on the street. She extended her hand, which was holding a juicy, ripe orange.

“Would you like an orange?” she asked.

The woman was surprised.

“Thank you!” she said.

Then she looked more closely at Kamila and saw that she was not alone. Six other children were with her, and they were accompanied by two adults. All were bundled up in warm clothing. It was a cold Sabbath afternoon in Lipetsk, Russia.

The woman held the orange in her hand, and she was pleased. The Christmas and New Year’s holidays were only a few days away, and Russians like to celebrate with oranges. “Where are you from?” she asked.

“We are from the Pathfinder club in Zaoksky,” Kamila said.

The woman looked confused.

“What are Pathfinders?” she said.

“It’s a Christian organization for children,” Kamila said. “We study the Bible and earn honors by doing various activities.”

The woman looked impressed. She saw that one of the Pathfinders was carrying a sign reading, “Who do you believe in: Santa Claus, Father Frost, or Jesus?” Father Frost is a Russian version of Santa Claus.

“Who do you believe in?” Kamila asked.

The woman smiled. “I believe in Jesus,” she said. “The other two are make-believe.”

“Me, too!” Kamila said, smiling back.

As the woman turned to go, Kamila called out, “Merry Christmas! God bless you!”

Then another Pathfinder pulled an orange from a bag held by a Pathfinder leader. He held it out to a man who was passing by.

“Would you like an orange?” he asked.

The reaction was the same.

“Yes, thank you!” the surprised man said. “Where are you from?”

“We are from the Pathfinder club in Zaoksky,” the boy said.

“What are Pathfinders?” he said.

After the boy had explained, he pointed to the sign reading, “Who do you believe in: Santa Claus, Father Frost, or Jesus?”

The man laughed. “Of course, I believe in Santa Claus,” he said. But the Pathfinders could see that he was joking. As the man walked away, it was clear that he was thinking about Jesus. The boy called out, “Merry Christmas! God bless you!”

So it was that Kamila and the other children gave away orange after orange on the snowy Sabbath afternoon. Everyone seemed to ask: Where are you from, and what are Pathfinders? One woman said she believed in Jesus because He had healed her from cancer. Another woman asked the Pathfinders to pray for her health. A grandfather asked for help entering a telephone number on his cellphone. Everyone was surprised and happy to receive oranges.

When the last orange had been given away, Kamila and the other children returned to the Seventh-day Adventist church where they were meeting for a weekend Bible experience. Kamila had memorized 48 Bible verses to participant in the Bible experience, which was called “Memorizing Pearls” and was held every year just before Christmas and New Year’s.

But now Kamila decided that the Bible experience wasn’t the most amazing thing about the weekend. The most amazing thing about the weekend was giving away oranges and telling people about Jesus.

“At the end of the day, I felt very satisfied and close to God,” Kamila said.

Part of your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering three years ago went to build a new school building for Kamila’s Seventh-day Adventist school in Zaoksky, Russia. Thank you for supporting the spread of the gospel throughout the world with your offerings.