Yes people there really is a Santa Claus! St Nicholas was a 4th century bishop of Myra in Lycia, Asia Minor. Bishops official robes are always red – which explains the red costume. If any child ever asks you, “Why does Santa give us presents?” You can truthfully tell them it is because he loves Jesus and is celebrating Jesus birthday, and Jesus lives and dwells in us. Since even unbelievers celebrate Christmas and tell their children about Santa Claus – the secular world is never going to truly be able to take Christ out of Christmas, even Xmas has Santa Claus. He is the most beloved of all the saints world-wide.
St Nicholas as a very early Christian Bishop is believed to have performed several miracles. He saved three distressed young women from a very bad life by gifts of gold for their dowries, every year at on Christmas Eve for 3 years, he threw one bag of gold down the chimney of their father’s house, so that their father wouldn’t know who gave the gift. The 3rd year the father caught him.
The three bags of gold are said to have suggested the three golden balls hung up by pawnbrokers outside their shops. St Nicholas became the patron saint of pawnbrokers. He also became the patron saint of various others groups: sailors, children, apothecaries, perfumiers, and un-married girls. The patronage is in most cases associated with one of the miracles he is said to have performed. He restored to life three boys murdered in a tub of brine by a butcher, and he rescued sailors off the coast of Asia Minor. The connection with perfumiers stems from perfumes associated with his shrine. He is also a patron saint of Russia.
To us, Nicholas is best known as the patron saint of children. There are many stories told about Nicholas’ goodness to children. He fed them when they were hungry, healed them when they were ill, and cared for those treated badly by people. The Dutch custom of giving presents to children on St Nicholas’ Day was taken by the Dutch to America, where the name Santa Claus developed from the Dutch “Sinte Klaas”. The custom of presents from Santa Claus eventually became associated in many places with Christmas rather than St Nicholas’ own feast day. That is how St Nicholas came to be Father Christmas.
If anyone qualifies for eternal life with Jesus it is St Nicholas and therefore he lives in truth, and in our hearts, inspires us with the Christmas spirit, year after year, a true example of Chrsitian charity and generosity.
Hanukkah – The Jewish Festival of Lights.
This is the 5th Night of Hanukkah the Jewish Festival of Lights and it remembering the rededication of the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem, in Israel. (Hanukkah is the Hebrew and Aramaic word for 'dedication'.) Hanukkah lasts for eight days. The menorah is put in the front window of houses so people passing can see the lights and remember the story of Hanukkah. Which we covered a couple of days ago.
Hanukkah is also for Christians - Jesus attended the "dedication festival" (Hanukkah) in the temple at Jerusalem so since the true 'Light of the World', celebrated Hanukkah and we are supposed to follow in his footsteps shouldn't we? Also there is strong evidence that Jesus was concieved during Hanukkah. The 'light of the world' decended in the darkest part of the year in Israel, during winters longest nights, while the Lights of Hanukkah flickered there message of Hope and God's love.