Just who is that jolly old man with the cherry red suit and fluffy white beard?
And, as a Christian, should I celebrate him in my Happy Home?
Well, I can answer the first question for you, but the second one is completely up to you and whatever you feel the Lord calling you to do!
Maybe the information provided here will help. :-)
It all began with a man named Saint Nicholas…
This special man was born in the third century in Greece.
As he grew, he became famous for being a man of compassion, kindness, and generosity.
He believed Jesus’ words to, “Sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” so he often helped people in need – especially kids!
One of the most popular stories passed down about Saint Nicholas is about a man who had 3 daughters. The family was so poor that the oldest daughter was going to be sold into slavery. Saint Nicholas – unseen – dropped a bag of gold coins one night through an open window of the family’s home. The story goes that the bag of gold coins fell into one of the daughters’ shoes!
This generous gift provided the family with enough money to have the daughter get married instead.
And then Saint Nicholas did the same thing 2 more times to help the family’s remaining daughters.
What a beautiful example of sacrificial, thoughtful love!
Saint Nicholas passed away on December 6th – a date that soon became celebrated with an annual feast in honor of his kindness. And then the date gradually came to mark the beginning of the medieval Christmas season.
On Saint Nicholas’ Eve, Happy Buddies would set out food for the Saint and straw for the horse he was said to ride (think reindeer). Happy Buddies also left their shoes out (think stockings) so that Saint Nicholas could fill them with treats and small gifts – just like the girl’s shoes from the story above.
Saint Nicholas is the real person around whom the tradition of Santa Claus was inspired.
Of course, Saint Nicholas’ appearance and story has changed over time as people like Washington Irving write poems like The Night Before Christmas. :-)
But I think the heart of Santa has remained the same.
He was a giver.
I believe that our Happy Buddies can see Jesus in the character of Saint Nicholas.
So when we are out and about and the Happy Buddy and I see Santa, I point to him and say, “Now there’s a man who loves to bless others. That’s exactly what Jesus came to earth to teach us! How can we bless someone else this Christmas?”
I try to focus more on the actual man that he was and what he did to help others – not on Wish Lists and presents and what we can get from him.
We’ve been watching A LOT of this movie in the last couple of weeks…
But I also believe that God gets glory in our Happy Buddy’s joy and wonderment on Christmas – as long as they have a healthy awareness of Who it’s really all about.
You know, the more I seek the Lord about the kind of mom He wants me to be, the more I see Him directing me toward a balanced life. Not full force trying to get my Happy Buddy to believe in Santa, but not completely separating our Happy Home from jolly old Saint Nick.
Because if Saint Nicholas can help me point the Happy Buddy to Jesus, then I am okay with that!
And maybe there are a few gifts under our tree with Santa’s signature on them… I mean, hey. It’s magical. My mom still writes Love, Santa on our gifts and I am 28 and I love it. :-)
AND the Happy Buddy and I will probably sprinkle Magic Reindeer Food on our lawn and leave out cookies and milk because it’s just plain fun.
But ultimately, the focus in our Happy Home is Jesus.
So, whether you choose to celebrate Santa in your Happy Home or not, the best gift we can give our Happy Buddies is the gift of knowing and understanding the value of giving this Christmas.
Because God – the greatest giver – gave us the greatest gift – Jesus.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16