The Christmas season is upon us. This is a season to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and participate in the advent ceremonies. Following the true reason for the season, there is another character who gets quite a bit of attention this time of year as well—Santa Clause.
It is only fitting to allow a space to present the origin story of such a strange man in a red suit with a sleigh, reindeer, and jingle bells. The story of St. Nicholas did not always look so heavily fixed on shopping malls and fantastical bedtime stories. To absolutely no one’s surprise, the true story of St. Nicholas has been lost.
It has been said, St. Nicholas was a humble Christian man who had been called by God to sell his belongings and give to the needy. St. Nic served with joyful giving and a whole heart of worship to God. Many stories have developed over the years regarding St. Nic and how he served the homeless, needy, sick and suffering. Eventually, he became known as the protector and helper of those in need.
One well known story begins with a poor father of three older daughters. In the early centuries, it was important for women to have dowries, a large sum of money to give to a potential suitor, in order to find husbands and have safety and security in marriage. Women were not able to take care of themselves or be independent in those days. With no dowry, the daughters would potentially be sold into slavery or left on the streets.
One morning the father woke up to find a bag of gold which appeared to have been launched through the open window into the hanging stockings. Mysteriously, the same occurrence happened for the next two evenings. The girls were saved from a life of poverty and into a life of hope. Due to St. Nicholas’s humility, he chose to deliver his gifts secretly and mysteriously. He gave all he had to those who were worse off in his community in order to share of the love of Christ.
While under the Roman rule of Diocletian, St. Nicholas was persecuted for his faith and thrown in prison for his pursuits of sharing the Gospel. These stories of St. Nic are steeped in virtue and Christian tradition; therefore, they should not be forgotten this Christmas.
We should all seek to be like St. Nicholas this season and give generously to those around us. Christ has blessed his people with time, money, talents and other gifts in order to bless others who are in greater need then ourselves.
Although the revamped version of Santa Clause is not evil, it is important to share the true story of St. Nic to uplift the true meaning of Christmas—to love God and love others by giving generously with whatever we have been blessed with this season.
So, let us make an effort to tell the real stories of Christmas of both Christ and His people. No more stories of the creepy man who brings toys through the chimney to the good children living in suburbia who want one more present, but the model of generosity through the story of St. Nicholas who followed God’s call and gave all he could to the needy over the Christmas season.