If you’re not familiar with the story of how Jesus befriends St. Nicholas, obviously you have not read “The Miracle of Santa Claus,” a short children’s book by Margaret Ann Stevenson. The author, who works for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Wilmington, had written the piece for family members but had it published this year.
Stevenson said she wrote the book for two young great-nieces who lived near her when she moved to Delaware in 2013 from Wilmington, N.C. The girls knew about Jesus, and they knew about Santa Claus, but they didn’t appear to make the connection between the two, Stevenson said.
“So, I started with Jesus befriending St. Nicholas, and the rest, as they say, is history,” said Stevenson, manager of administrative services at Catholic Charities’ office in Wilmington. “St. Nicholas needed Jesus’ help to make sure all children around the world could celebrate Jesus’ birthday, so some miracles were in store.”
The number of great-nieces and nephews has since grown to 12, and her family encouraged her to publish the story. She made that decision last Advent season after a day of recollection with Msgr. Steven Hurley, the vicar general and moderator of the curia for the diocese. Stevenson recalled how Msgr. Hurley talked about how important it is to prepare for the holiness of the season, which was the catalyst for her.
She tweaked the original story from the personal, family version, and she found an illustrator to replace the clip art. The illustrator, Charity Tomczyk, is a student at A.I. duPont High School in Greenville; she plans to pursue art as a career. It took about six months to go from submission of copy and art to print.
Stevenson, a Toronto, Ontario, native, said she has written professionally for many years, mostly while working in health care and public service. Those mainly were position papers, proposals, newspaper and journal articles, presentations, and speeches. This was her first children’s book.
“The Miracle of Santa Claus” was published in October, so the distribution has been limited.
“I’ve been to a few church bazaars and Christmas craft shows, and the reception has been terrific,” Stevenson said. She plans to set up a schedule of visits to Sunday schools and other classes next year so she can share the message with more children.
Currently, the book is available online at www.outskirtspress.com and several online bookstores. She hopes to have it available in local stores next year. Those who wish to stay in touch with Stevenson about “The Miracle of Santa Claus” can follow her at facebook.com/margaretann.stevenson.1.