Who Says Santa Clause Is Not Real?

        I remember as a young child the excitement and anticipation that totally consumed me when the month of December finally arrived. That is when the countdown started ...25...24...23...22 until the day finally arrived.  I was always told if I was good, Santa Claus would drop off a few of the toys I had put on my Christmas list. I knew he was real, because he always came to town on a float in the Christmas parade down State Street, and then I would see him in the toy department on the fourth floor of the H.P. King Department store.  There was no doubt.  The man in the red suit was real, and he never failed to bring me a gift on Christmas morning.
          As I grew older, I discovered it was my parents who bought the gifts and the Santa Claus in the H.P King Department store was actually a teacher from the High School. Although somewhat shocked, I was OK with this new information, because it didn’t change anything about the Christmas season. After all, it was about Jesus’ birth and not about a fat, jolly man in a red suit. But still, there was a little disappointment. I wanted to believe there was actually someone who loved children everywhere and would secretly bring them gifts to fill their lives with joy.
          As it turns out, there was such a man. His name was Saint Nicholas, and he was the Bishop of Myra, which is in the present-day country of Turkey.  He lived around the fourth century and details about his life are vague and often legendary.  It is generally agreed, however, that Nicholas was a kind and generous pastor.

          One story that is told about St. Nicholas concerns a man who lived with his three lovely daughters. The poor man was not able to provide a dowry for any of his girls which meant they would not be able to marry.  Poor girls in those days who were not able to marry were often sold into slavery.  To save the eldest daughter, Nicholas placed a large number of gold coins in a small bag and tossed it through an open window of the man’s house. In the years that followed, he did the same for the two younger women. Though he attempted to provide the gifts anonymously, he was finally discovered by the father. Some believe this was the origin of giving gifts to others at Christmas.    

         So you see Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, is real.  He may not be exactly like I used to envision him when I was little, but the giving spirit he shared with others lives on.  That same spirit of love and generosity is given to us through the gift of God’s Son, Jesus. The celebration of His birth on December 25th brings love and joy to children and adults all over the world.            

          St. Nicholas dedicated his life to sharing Jesus with all those he met. He knew the hope of the world rested on the shoulders of the small child who came to us from above and was laid in a manger. This Christmas, receive the best gift St. Nicholas ever gave away,  the gift of knowing and believing in the Prince of Peace,  the giver of life,  the source of all joy,  the Savior of the world,  the Son of God,  . . . .  Jesus.   


Have a blessed and merry Christmas.                                                                                                    

 Fr. Tom



Dec 11, 2012, 3:46 PM