Today, December 6, we celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas. - Yes, St. Nicholas, as in St. Nick, or Santa Claus, as he has come to be known. Of course, much of the image of Santa Claus these days makes no reference to the true Santa (Saint) Claus (Nicholas). Nevertheless, Santa has his origin in this Saint of the Church, who was a real bishop of the Church in the fourth century.
A number of years ago, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly did a story about the good bishop. I first saw it posted on the Sacramental Nazarenes Facebook page (a few years back). I thought I would share it with the readers of this blog.
There is much more to the story of St. Nicholas, of course, including the claim that he was involved with the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 (though the early lists of bishops present at the council do not include his name). There's the story of his defending orthodoxy and punching Arius. And speaking of "Ho, ho, ho," there is his insistence on the word "homoousios" rather than "homoiousios" (see the extra "i" in the latter?). You see, the latter means that Jesus is "of a similar substance" with the Father, while the former means that He is "of the same substance." It was "homoousios" that made its way into orthodoxy and the creed we confess on Sundays. Jesus is not just like God. Jesus is fully divine. - And so, if you want to know if the guy in the red suit is the real St. Nick, just ask him the question found in this meme:
I also want to recommend a book for parents who's children are getting close to "that age." It is a book written by Harold Myra and illustrated by Jane Kurisu, titled "Santa Are You for Real?" It was published in 1997 by Tommy Nelson (the children's imprint for Thomas Nelson, Inc.). - My wife and I read this book to both of our children as they were growing-up, and we have recommended it to other parents over the years.
Finally, as an aside for my fellow Sci-Fi nerds, it has been pointed out that, according to this icon, below, it may well be that Santa Claus is really a Klingon and possibly an ancestor to Lieutenant Commander Worf! I'll let you be the judge! - Just in case, and in good Klingon fashion, on this Feast of St. Nicholas I wish you all Qapla'!