The Santa Suit

By Matthew Martinez, recreation & enrichment specialist

Proverbs 16:9 – In his heart, a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Doing my job requires that I give a lot of myself – physically, mentally and spiritually. I've been working at Methodist Healthcare Ministries as a recreation & enrichment specialist for two years now, but not a single day has been as rewarding as the day that I put on, 'the Santa suit.'

It was a typical Friday in December, filled with a lot to do and little time to do it. The one difference was that today, Dustin, our multimedia production coordinator, was going to record our department for the MHM Christmas video. I along with all of my team members, gathered in the gym to shoot our clip. That's when I was handed a Santa coat and hat. For some reason, joy filled my heart in a way that it hadn't in a while at work. After we finished shooting the scene, I was told that the rest of the suit was in the storage closet. I don't know why, but for some reason, I felt God calling me to the suit. One of my co-workers tested me and said, "You won't wear that all day," and so I accepted that challenge and did.

It started as just a silly way of walking around the building, but then, after putting on the wig, beard, pants, boots, jacket, and hat, something changed. I found myself smiling under that beard and wanting to make everyone else smile as well. So I made my way around Wesley Health & Wellness Center, the clinic owned and operated by Methodist Healthcare Ministries. I went to the dental, medical, and parenting areas, the kitchen and even the pharmacy. All along the way, I was stopped by employees and clients alike, smiling and wanting to take a picture with Santa Clause. In all my time at Methodist Healthcare Ministries, I've been a part of many smiles and even some tears, but no memory will ever stick to my mind as well as this one. I made employees who were weary from another hard year of work smile and laugh. I made clients from as young as a few months to the seniors in our classes smile when things outside of this building are often too hard to allow for smiling.

I will always remember the day I put on that suit. For that one day, I was more than just a recreation & enrichment specialist; I was a glimmer of hope for many, a reminder that through God's love and compassion nothing is ever too hard to overcome. My original plans for that suit led me to put it on, but God led me to bring a little bit of Christmas joy to those at Wesley Health & Wellness Center.