What About Santa?

Read: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Each family handles the subject of Santa Clause a little bit different during the Christmas season.  What many people don’t realize is that the person of Santa Clause stems from a real person who lived many years ago. Pastor James White brings this to our attention in a recent blog post. St. Nicholas lived in the country of Turkey from 270 to 343 A.D.  He was very active in the early church and even became a leader in the Christian church.  He was a part of the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. that ended up being one of the most important Christian councils in all of history.

Pastor White writes, “Nicholas was known for holiness and for his passion for Christ. He was actually tortured and imprisoned for his faith under the Emperor Diocletian.  He gave almost all of his money away to the poor, and his love for children was incredibly real.  Over time, his giving, and acts of charity led to a tradition of children being given presents in his name.  The problem was that the children had trouble saying his name because “St. Nicholas” has so many syllables.  It soon became “Sint Klaes” and then later “Santa Claus” by the Dutch.  Simply put, St. Nicholas was a wonderful Christian man, one of the true heroes of the faith, and all things “Santa” can and should be spiritual in nature.  Santa isn’t the problem, it’s how we’ve stripped him of his sainthood, motivation, and story.”

In other words, we have made Santa into a deliverer of materialistic wants and gifts instead of focusing on the true giving and generosity that St. Nicholas was known for in his life.  It’s not that we should throw out the fun tradition of Santa Clause at Christmas (after all, the North Pole is more exciting than Turkey), but perhaps as children get older we need to teach them about the real St. Nick and his passion for giving to others and helping those in need.  2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Make it Personal:  There are many wonderful traditions at Christmas time, some of them are more accurate and helpful than others.  Whether it is Santa Clause, Rudolph, or Frosty, we need to keep the original and most meaningful story of Christmas in the forefront of all our celebrations this time of year.  It is important that our children learn early on and often that Christmas is ultimately about Christ, and the birth of our Savior.  Let’s have fun with all of it, but let’s give thanks for Jesus and let’s be giving and generous because of his example, and the example of saints like St Nicholas.

Have a wonderful Christmas, Glen Rhodes