A Note from the Pastor – The Real Santa

Children lined up to see Santa Claus in the English town of St. Ives, when an alarm went off causing an evacuation of the building.Suddenly, Santa ripped his beard and hat off in front of the children and started shouting and swearing at the families to leave. One mother calmed her child down by telling her child that man wasn’t really Santa, but an imposter who is on the naughty list!

In the minds of countless children, Santa Claus is the best thing about Christmas. When Hallmark needs a supernatural plot device, they always rely on “Santa Magic.”  Santa comes through with guidance, encouragement, hope and answers to heartfelt pleas. But isn’t that God’s job description? So how did Santa take center stage during the Christmas season?

Santa is actually St. Nicholas (A.D. 270-343), the Bishop of Myra. The only child of wealthy parents, he received a large inheritance when his parents perished in an epidemic. He spent his life giving away his fortune to the sick, the suffering and the poor.

The event that turned Nicolas into Santa involved a poverty-stricken father of three girls. He couldn’t afford to pay a dowry, which would diminish the chances for the girls to find a husband, making them vulnerable to prostitution or slavery.

When the oldest girl came of age, Nicholas anonymously threw a bag of gold coins through the family’s open window. He did it two more times as the other daughters grew up.  All three were able to marry. The story circulated that the bags of coins landed in their stockings drying by the fire. Children have been hanging up stockings ever since, hoping for a gift.

Miracles were associated with Nicolas’s ministry and he became known as “Nicolas the wonder worker.” Today, St. Nicolas is not only the patron saint of children, but of those trapped in sex trafficking because of his intercession on behalf of those young girls.   

The real Santa was an incredible Christian before he was morphed into the waistline challenged, chimney- rappelling, reindeer loving resident of the north pole under the influence of commercial marketers. Behind the trite facade lies the historical echoes of something real—there once was a man who devoted his life to improving the lives of poor children, under the influence of Jesus. That is the real Santa magic.

Rev Dr William A Lewis