UPWARD GLANCE: Christmas According to St. Nick

by Kyle
published December 24, 2012


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Read More Upward Glances

You know about Santa Claus, right? Large, jolly, red suit, white beard, tiny reindeer, etc. Santa. He's got several different names, too: Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Pere Noel and Babouschka are a few.

Much of the Santa Claus myth, however, is based on a real man named Saint Nicholas.

Saint Nicholas was a bishop in the fourth century in an area that is now part of modern-day Turkey, known for his generosity and his genuine care for the people of his diocese. He was the orphan of wealthy parents and used his inhereted wealth to be generous to those in need.

The historical St. Nick was also one of the bishops to sign the Nicene Creed at the First Council of Nicaea in 325.

The First Council of Nicaea was important because it was convened to settle the Arian controversy. A popular teacher named Arius had begun teaching that Jesus was not really God, but was simply a sinless man, and that salvation really comes by following his example. His teaching gained substantial support around the Roman Empire, even if it did completely contradict Scripture, and the Council of Nicaea was convened to determine who Jesus really was. Their conclusion was that Jesus was both fully God and fully human, and that salvation came by faith in Jesus' atoning sacrifice.

Saint Nicholas was one of the authors and signers of the document that council produced, and he believed so adently in Jesus' divinity that he reportedly slapped an Arian in the face for denying Jesus is God in his church.

Saint Nicholas was transformed over the centuries into Santa Claus, and Santa Claus slowly began to replace Jesus as the mascot of Christmas. I just have to wonder how Saint Nicholas would feel about replacing his Lord on Christmas.

Tomorrow, as you settle in with your family to celebrate Christmas, take a note from Santa Claus and make sure you take time to worship the God who condescended to flesh and died for your sake and mine.


"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." - Galatians 4:4-5

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