Sunday, December 24, 2006

24th Day of Christmas - Santa Claus

Among Christians there is disagreement regarding whether Christmas should be celebrated with Santa Claus or not. This is a personal preference that each person should make a decision on for themselves. However the background of our modern day jolly man in red is quite interesting, regardless of where your convictions lie.

Here is how the story goes. . .

In the city of Myra during the third century (that is in modern day Turkey) there lived a young man named Nicholas who from an early age showed the promise of becoming a great Christian leader. As a teen he was often called "Bishop Boy" and was greatly loved by the community.

His family was very wealthy and once he received his inheritance he began giving it away to the poor and needy. He was especially fond of helping children.

One tale regarding Nicholas' acts of charity involves a family too poor to pay their daughter's dowry. In order to remain a secret, Nicholas climbed the roof of their home and dropped a coin down the chimney. The daughter had her sock hanging by the fire to dry and the coin landed in it. When the second daughter was to be married, a coin was provided by way of the chimney once again. When the third and final daughter came of age, the father waited on the roof to see who was leaving the dowry for his daughters and caught Nicholas dropping a third coin down his chimney. Once this secret was revealed the community loved him even more.

Hundreds of years later this biship was declared Saint Nicholas, which was pronounced as Sinter Klaas by the Dutch. Today he is known as Santa Claus.

The name Kris Kringle which is often heard comes from the Dutch word Christkindl, meaning "Christ child". This was originally come up with to refocus people's attention on Jesus as the real gift-giver. It is now interchangeable with Santa Claus.

No matter the name he goes by, the character of Santa Claus reveals the giving heart of our Father God in Heaven.

No comments: