Erin E. McEndree
There is always a huge debate around this time of the year whether to tell our kids if there is a Santa or not. Sometimes the debate gets pretty intense. The debate centers around fantasy which some people see as lying and the real meaning behind the man in red. I always read the historical story to my children about Nicholas and the spirit and heart I wanted them to learn from his actions instead of the commercialization that is so popular.
I hope this story helps you believe always in the spirit of Santa, no matter what he is called.
Originally Nicholas, a Greek, was born 280 years after Christ, He became a bishop of Myra, a small town in modern Turkey. He was a staunch defender of Christianity when Bibles were being burned and priest were made to renounce Christ or be put to death. He became known as patron of children, sailors, repentant thieves, prostitutes and students. He was also known for secret gift giving.
One story that is widely know is how he saved three girls from becoming prostitutes by secretly giving them gold coins so their dad could pay a dowery for them. Another story is how he saved 3 innocent soldiers from execution. There are so many stories I encourage you to look up of the miraculous things Nicholas preformed. Later he was deemed a Saint. Picking the stories that are appropriate for your family is a good idea.
So, when I'm asked if I believe in Santa, which was morphed from St. Nicholas, I say Yes! I want my children to be more like St. Nick. I want them to be defenders of the poor, the weak and children. I want them give to the needy all the time, not just at Christmas.
The spirit of giving gifts is not a bad thing if we put the right importance and perspective on it. Give gifts in the same spirit Jesus gave to you Salvation. But, don't just stop at the giving. Tell the good news as you give. "I give you this because you are important to me just like Jesus gave me a gift, too. It was important enough for Him to die for me. He died for you, too.”
Don't allow your gifts of Salvation to lay dormant and unopened! Open it. Relish it. Study it. Cherish it. Share it.
Do you believe in St. Nicholas, who we call Santa? Do you believe in the spirit of Santa.
Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe in his gifts?
How do you show it? Sadly, many show they believe in the commercialization of Santa more than they show they believe in Jesus who give the best gifts of all.
Let's change that every day this year!
One thing decided to do a long time ago was to give gifts all year round. So, my New Year’s Resolution has been that if I see something that reminds me of someone, I buy it for them and mail it to them with an nice note. I keep the spirit of gift giving all year. Jesus has an ample supply of gifts for me: mercy, grace and salvation. He lavishes his love on me, a sinner. God knitted me together with gifts and I want to use them all year long to build others up and encourage them.
Gifts are not just for December or birthdays. They are for every day of the year. Maybe a prayer is the most wonderful gift you could give. Think about how you can celebrate the spirit of Santa, St. Nick and giving all year around and teach your children to believe 12 months out of the year.
Blessing from Erin