Two Saint Nicks – Part Three – Giving Gifts

There is one more thing I think the real Nicholas would say to the Santa of today: “You are doing it wrong!”
There is a reason why the myth of St. Nick giving gifts came to be. The original Nicholas was known to give gifts to those in need. He gave in secret. And it is certainly fair to assume from everything else that we know about him that this giving was done for only one reason – his love for God and thanks for the gift he had given!
Giving gifts at Christmas time can be a very good tradition for Christians to observe. It’s an excellent opportunity to talk about the greatest gift of all which the Father has bestowed on us – that through His Son we should all be called children of God! It is also an excellent opportunity to talk about good works. How we give gifts and love to one another because of what God has done for us! Christmas reminds us of the Father’s open hand of mercy which causes us to open our hands and hearts to all around us.
But Santa obscures this. Santa doesn’t teach children about the love of the Father or the gift of the Son. Nor does he teach children about good works. Instead, as noted yesterday, he teaches them to do good in order to earn gifts rather than giving freely because God has already freely given Christ.
So what would the real St. Nick say to Santa? I think he’d say “You’re doing it wrong! And you’re teaching children to do it wrong too!” Teach your children the right way. Take them to buy gifts to give to others, especially those in need. Teach them about Jesus, the greatest gift we all need so desperately. Teach them right!
In Christ
Pastor Ude