The real Santa Claus would not want to be the center of our attention. The center of his attention would be Jesus. You see, the man we know as Santa Claus was born in 270 (almost 1800 years ago) and named Nicholas by his parents (he would later become known as Saint Nicholas; and “saint” because of his love for Jesus and people).
Nicholas was raised in a fishing village on the coast of modern turkey along the Mediterranean Sea. His parents were very wealthy, so he always had a warm place to sleep and plenty of food to eat. His parents were also Christians and they taught him to love Jesus more than their money.
Sadly, when Nicholas was just a boy, both of his parents died, leaving Nicholas alone, and with much wealth. But Nicholas wasn’t really alone. And as he grew he knew this. God was always with him. Nicholas believed that everything he had was from God and that it was his duty to share with others who did not have what they needed.
And so that’s exactly what Nicholas did – he freely gave of all he had to those who were poor and needy. Saint Nicholas was generous because he knew God had been generous to him by sending Jesus to die for his sins. He loved to give much because he had been given much.
One of the ways that Nicholas loved to give was through secret-giving. He didn’t want people to know the gifts were from him. So some nights, the poor in his village would leave their shoes and socks outside, and in the morning they would sometimes find them filled with gold coins or gold balls.
Tradition tells us one particular story about Nicholas helping a poor man with three daughters. Three daughters who were to marry, but their poor father had no dowry to offer any potential suitors. And so the poor father worried he would never be able to give his daughters to good men for marriage.
Well Saint Nicholas took it upon himself to remedy this. One night, while they all lay nestled in their beds, Saint Nicholas tossed three bags of gold through an open window, and they are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry.
You see, Santa Claus was not magical, but he loved a magical God. He would not appreciate being the center of our Christmas celebration. If he were here today, he would want to celebrate Christmas with us.