Do you remember your early childhood? Some of those recollections may have grown hazy, but it’s a safe bet that one image still stands out in radiant color.
Kids of every age tend to remember the first time they learned about Santa Claus. And nearly all of us can recall the steadily building excitement leading up to Christmas morning.
When we’re very young, we believe in Santa with a full-fledged sense of childlike wonder. We trust that every single story is absolutely genuine — that he’s wise, kind, magical, fair and jolly.
Then we get a little older and, inevitably, someone feels it’s their duty to tell us the truth.
But kids like Matthew Wolf might tell you about an entirely different truth. For Matthew, Santa proved himself to be 100 percent real and authentic.
Charmed viewers all across social media are rediscovering their belief, too. And it’s all thanks to a heartwarming holiday Facebook tale recently posted by Matthew’s mom, Misty Wolf.
Matthew is autistic. According to Autism Speaks, autism is actually considered a spectrum disorder, and roughly one in 59 children are affected.
That means there’s really no single cluster of signs or symptoms. Each person with autism can experience a broad range of varying challenges involving speech, sleep, social skills, nonverbal communication and more.
Matthew is also blind, but, according to his mother, he’s still fascinated by the very notion of Santa Claus.
Matthew and his mother were recently out and about when they encountered a store display featuring the chief elf himself. Wolf leaned over to Saint Nick with some helpful information.
She summarized Matthew’s challenges and also emphasized that her boy was in the presence of his hero. As Wolf wrote on Facebook, “He said ‘say no more’ and immediately got down on the floor to greet my little man.”
Santa and Matthew chatted for quite some time. During the course of their spirited conversation, he invited Matthew to tug on his fluffy beard, pat his velvety red suit and feel his festive red hat.
Then he asked Matthew if there were any other fabled characteristics he might like to investigate. “Matthew said ‘your eyes that twinkle’ (from the poem ‘twas the night before Christmas),” his mother wrote.
So this patient and kindly Kris Kringle let Matthew tap around his eyes for as long as the youngster wanted. But old Father Christmas still wasn’t finished.
He asked Matthew if he’d ever felt an actual reindeer. Then the boy was merrily hoisted into Santa’s protective arms and carried over to the display reindeer so he could pet it and say hello.
As Misty gratefully wrote on Facebook, “my heart was full seeing Matthew so interested.” And as of Tuesday morning, 70,000 people shared the story and were equally moved.
This holiday season, maybe you’ll overhear someone trying to refute a child’s unwavering belief in Santa Claus. You could say a lot of things in response — or you could simply show them this story.
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