Saint Nicholas, also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek.
Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker (Νικόλαος ὁ Θαυματουργός, Nikólaos ho Thaumaturgós). His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints,and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus through Sinterklaas.
Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated on his feast day.
Nicholas thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of “Saint Nikolaos”.
Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, the customs today started from miracles associated with him. Now, children at Christmas time continue to honour (“believe in”) him. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers and students in various cities and countries around Europe.
As you can see, from the snippet of Wikipedia article, St. Nicholas has a very heavy Christian influence. This is just a backdrop of information, here. St. Nicholas was (and is) an iconic figure of Christmas.
Now, Christmas is a pagan holiday.
If you do not believe me, google it.
Okay, not really a Pagan holiday, but it does have a heavy Pagan influence. We just decided (for whatever reason – probably money because we are humans, after all) to attach the celebration of Christ’s birth onto a Pagan holiday. This pagan holiday, was probably based upon Roman Emperor Aerileus’ celebration of some fancy Roman stuff that we really do not care about anymore.
You know, unless you’re some sort of history buff – which I deeply respect.
With that said, everyone likes a warm, happy, fun break from the bleakness of winter. So, regardless of the origins of Christmas, we really need to turn a concerned eye onto this Santa Claus “question.”
Should you let your child believe in Santa Claus?
As I drove home to visit my brother (who recently got out of a major surgery), I was listening to the only station my car can get in this, the middle of nowhere. It happened to be the Christian radio station.
I, personally, do not have a problem with Christian music stations; but this particular one, like the local country music station and pop stations, play… six songs… at most. The same six songs. It gets irritating.
The station was having a “debate…” (which I cannot really call it that because they all just agreed with each other) on whether or not you should let your kids believe in Santa Claus. All the parents and the radio hosts seemed to agree on the point of believing in Santa is a ridiculous idea.
Now, they all kind of disagreed on the finer points of this issue.
Some people brought up the point that Santa is basically some sort of witch figure and, since they did not want their children reading or watching Satanic things, they wanted to shelter them as well as they could.
Others brought up how believing in Santa destroys what Christmas is really about.
There were any number of other points, but they all sort of centered around the fact they believed kids should not believe in Santa because of magic – which, I think we can all agree, is the point of Christmas.
I think we have to believe in things we don’t see. That’s really important for all of us, whether it’s your religion or Santa Claus, or whatever. That’s pretty much what it’s about.
Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth: a celebration of something miraculous and quite magical.
Humans are naturally greedy, evil creatures. We are selfish and prideful. Full of scorn. Santa, in a way, urges children to look at their good behavior (and the gifts they recieve for their good behavior) and extend that charitable behavior onto others for, at least, the month of December.
Listening to these parents and the close-mindedness of people who share a similar faith to that of my own was a bit depressing. I was raised in a home where Mom and Dad both requested that we take the time to read our Bibles and pray every day. But, this was a situation where we were given the opportunity to choose. My parental units believed in asking questions and cultivating our imaginations.
I remember being allowed to read Harry Potter, to watch science fiction,… to invent magical worlds. As long as we were using our brains and were aware of the difference between fantasy and reality, they really did not have an issue with anything we were subjected to (as long as there was no smut of sex or whatever – they paid attention).
As far as restricting Santa Claus: my little brother (who was maybe 3, at the time) asked my father if Santa worked for Jesus. To this query, my father answered that, yes, Santa does work for Jesus. He, then, took that opportunity to educate us all on St. Nicholas.
Which, to me, is a much better approach than telling your child that there is no such thing as magic.
How, then, do you expect them to believe in the miracle of Christ’s birth?
Of His resurrection?
If these Christian kids are being raised in a box, how are they to be accepting and not hateful when it comes to other believes?
Just a thought I am throwing out to the void of the internet.
Love you all!