Christmas and the “Exception Claus”

RobDevotions

Can explainSorry I haven’t posted for a couple of days, but blogging sometimes takes a backseat to a little ole thing I like to call, life. Anyway, let’s pick back up with some more of my Christmas rants.

Here’s the shirt my parents made me wear to bed on Christmas Eve until I was 10 years old.

Those who really know me probably believe that. It’s not true though, but it does raise a question. Who is this dude that carries so much weight (figuratively and literally) this time of year?

I’m just sure that somewhere in the official Christian’s Guide to Christmas there is an * exception (Santa) Clause.

I mean, the goal is to focus on the real meaning of Christmas and in order to do that we all seem to finally understand that there’s quite a bit of Xmas fat that needs to be trimmed away. If you’re lost already on this post, catch up by reading the two previous posts in this series, here and here.

Today I’ll keep it brief and let my link to another page do most of the talking because I ran into someone the other day who, should have known better! This was a mature believer who had no idea whatsoever where that fat, jolly old guy in the red suit with all the presents came from.

Friend: “Oh, I just sort of figured he was like the Easter bunny,

you know, just made up to sell more JUNK and all.”

Me: “You mean the parts about coming down the chimney and flying reindeer and all that?” I asked casually.

Friend: “No, all of it. Come on, Rob, everyone knows that!”

Me: No, (I’ll call him, ‘Joe’ even though he’s not one of my four readers so there’s probably no need) Joe, he was a real guy. There really was a Saint Nicholas. Did you seriously not know that?”

Friend: “No, I seriously did not know that because it’s not true!”

and on and on we went. So, for the 3 other people (give or take a few million) in America who feel like Joe regarding the man in red, here are the facts,

The Legend of St. Nicholas and Santa Claus

The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick. One of the best known of the St. Nicholas stories is that he saved three poor sisters from being sold into slavery or prostitution by their father by providing them with a dowry so that they could be married. Over the course of many years, Nicholas’s popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6. This was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married. By the Renaissance, St. Nicholas was the most popular saint in Europe. Even after the Protestant Reformation, when the veneration of saints began to be discouraged, St. Nicholas maintained a positive reputation, especially in Holland.

For an honest, unbiased telling of the facts on the old saint Nick, you can also check here.

So, as you can see, even though quite a bit of legend has grown up around this one figure, he was, first and foremost, a selfless, servant-hearted, generous man of God. And that generosity was born out of a love for what Christ did for Him and for all. He was not one to put himself forward, preferring always to work behind the scenes in helping others.

That is why I believe he would be horrified at what we’ve turned him into today.

How can we take a man who had a heart like John the baptist (who once said of Jesus), “He must increase but I must decrease” and make him out to be a bumbling idiot like the way Tim Allen portrays him in recent movies?

However, I do think it would warm his heart to know that his life was one that helped point the way to Jesus Christ, but horrified to know that for so many His life has become the main focal point.

Inevitably when I share my heart on old Saint Nicholas, there is at least one person who will ask what we have done with our own kids regarding Santa Claus. I’m sure they expect me to say that we have no part of him, but when they expect this, that only tells me they haven’t heard a word I said.

We’ve used Santa sparingly over the years as a sort of human road sign pointing the way to Christ.

He’s not the way himself.

But somehow I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t mind helping you find it!

John 14:6 says, “Jesus said, ‘I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

For some more interesting thoughts on this sensitive Christmas topic, check out the last few posts on my friend, Jay Foreman’s blog!