Today, December 6th, is the day when the Church has historically remembered St. Nick. That’s right, the man behind the legend known as Santa Claus. Yes he was real. No he’s not from the North Pole. He lived in a much warmer realm. The city of Myra in the Roman province of Lycia on the Mediterranean sea (modern day Turkey). He was a bishop (a Pastor). This real man was vastly, wildly different from the “Santa Claus” which he has been morphed into in popular culture. What do you suppose the real St. Nick would say to today’s imaginary Santa? (Other than, The Mediterranean is way better than the North Pole!) Over the next couple days we’ll look at a couple.
1. “Stop stealing Christ’s glory or I’ll slap you!” One story (quite likely true) told about the real St. Nick is that he slapped a guy in the face! And while perhaps a little excessive, Nick was in the right! He was at the council of Nicea (Where our Nicean creed comes from). The purpose of this council was to deal with certain contradictory teachings which had cropped up about the nature of Christ. There was a man named Arius (boooo Arias! – https://cdn.meme.am/instances/500x/54568900.jpg).
Arias taught that Jesus was not really true God. That he had been created by the Father and was therefore a lesser God. Nicholas was incensed. His reaction to the blasphemy spewing out of Arias’ mouth was more than to say “booo.” He slapped (or punched) him in the face. Arias deserved far worse for the things he was saying. Parents, let me give you a piece of advice here. This is the St. Nick your children should learn about. Not the fat fake one. See other than the physical violence, Nicholas’ attitude is what Christmas is all about. He dearly treasured what the bible taught about that child born in the manger. He knew, as the old song confesses that He was “Of the Father’s love begotten e’er the world’s began to be. He is Alpha and Omega. He, the source the ending he.” Nick knew that doctrine mattered. He knew that Christmas was about Christ. The one who had been born to be sacrificed for our sins (after all Christmas means “Christ’s sacrifice”). He knew that there was nothing in the world so important as the gift God gave when He sent His own eternal son, God of God and light of light to be our savior!
The Santa Claus of today does no good for anyone. All he does is obscure Christ and the true message of Christmas. He tells the world that doctrine doesn’t really matter, that the details about Christmas – like who exactly that child was and what exactly he came to do aren’t really all that important. If the real St. Nick were here today, I suppose he’d probably slap Santa too!