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.
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.
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.
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
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, . . . .
a blessed and merry Christmas.