There are many parents today who wanted their children to believe that Santa Claus has many elves who help him prepare the toys for those who were not naughty but nice. When the time comes on Christmas Eve he rides his sleigh in the night pulled by nine flying reindeers led by Rudolph with a lighted nose. He carefully lands on the rooftop of every house then climbs on top of the chimney forcing his chubby body to fit so he can secretly slip personally every requested toys in the socks prepared by children of all ages. Are there truths in this story?
Obviously, we could not just throw the baby along with the bath water. The problem, though, is the truth was laced with fancy made-up stories like elves, sleigh, and flying reindeers that it’s hard for a kid to easily draw the line between truth and tale. I believed we have to familiarize ourselves with the truth so we as parents will know how to gently explain these things to our children without hurting their young emotions.
Let us go back to the year 280 AD, when there was a boy named Nicholas who was born into a wealthy wheat merchant family in Patara, located in the region of Lycia, Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). When his parents died he eventually inherited so much wealth that he decided to help the poor people in his place. One day, he learned of a nobleman who became bankrupt that he owed his creditors a huge sum of money which he can’t even afford to pay back. The creditors who already took his property even wanted to take his three daughters as payment. The father is fully aware that his daughters’ destiny will surely end up in slavery and prostitution in the hands of these vultures. This was the time where dowries are much needed in order to give to those whom single women are suppose marry. This type of marriage will surely save them from a life of misery and hardships. When Nicholas learned about this news, he wasted no time to help the family by climbing through the window and secretly place a bag of gold near the fireplace to save the first daughter. He did the same thing for the second daughter without getting noticed. The father was thankful to the Lord because He use an individual to help them in their situation. When the time came for Nicholas to help the third daughter, he accidentally drops the bag of gold in the chimney that landed on one of her stockings being dried up near the fireplace. This is probably where the gifts inside the stocking originated. When the father notices the commotion he immediately ran outside their house to see the face of this good Samaritan in action whom God uses to help them. When Nicholas knew that he could not hide his noble acts anymore he strongly requested the father not to expose his real identity as long as he lives. This is because he wanted to give glory and honor to God alone for the things he secretly does in helping people. This act of secret giving became a tradition on the anniversary of Nicholas’ death who eventually became a Bishop of Myra and later called St. Nicholas. As years pass-by the name of St. Nicholas evolved in many places from Saint Niklass to Sinter Klaas to Santa Claus in the 1860s.
If you have children, let us remind them that Santa Claus whose real name is St. Nicholas followed the footsteps of Jesus Christ by giving generously to those who were in need. What must be emphasized is not the Christmas season but the reason why we celebrate this season. The reason behind all these things is because God the Father gave His Son Jesus Christ for us to save us from our sins resulting to eternal damnation. Whenever we give generously this is just an outflow of our gratefulness towards what the Father did through His Son Jesus Christ. It’s encouraging to know that St. Nicholas lived this kind of life that gives honor and glory to God alone.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matt. 6:3-4, NIV
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
There Really Is A Santa Claus by William J. Federer