Santa Claus comes to town every Christmas, usually about a month before Christmas, with his jolly Ho, Ho, Ho, he frightens the daylights out of the very little ones and pleases the older child by listening and promising to bring the favorite gift.
But where did he come from? How did he come to be not only a part of, but sometimes the main show at Christmas. If you said from The Night Before Christmas Story, you would be partially right. In the famous poem the author mentions Saint Nicholas but, as the story went around the world and advertising began drawing images of the more or less mythical person described, the name Santa for Saint and Claus for Nicholas evolved.
Saint Nicholas was a real person who live centuries ago in what is now the country of Turkey. His parents were wealthy and they took him for a trip around the world while he was quite young. The trip impressed him as he saw that many people suffered in poverty with few to help. Shortly after the trip he was orphaned and was left with quite a bit of money. It was then he began helping the poor. He gave gifts in secret, he was wise beyond his years and became a priest at age 18. In his 20’s he became an archbishop, doing many wondrous works. He was a Christ follower and a man of much prayer and fasting. He gave so much that soon his benevolence could no longer be kept a secret. The most famous story is that of him secretly putting dowry money into the hanging stockings of three daughters of a once wealthy man who lost all he had. This father was beside himself not knowing what to do and decided he had to sell his daughters into slavery, then the money was provided and the girls were able to marry. He was so grateful, he realized that he had committed a grave sin and asked forgiveness of God and became a believer. Santa is a giver of gifts, he encourages children to, say their prayers and be good. He spreads good will and cheer to all. In a way he emulates St Nicholas and I love to tell children and others that Santa is real, in the person of St Nicholas.
Before the popularity of this poem there was never a mention of Santa, gifts or St Nick, and if it wasn’t for this ancient man of God perhaps there never would have been a Santa.
Santa Claus comes to us on the eve of Christmas when the wondrous truth of Christmas unfolds. His eight tiny reindeer were also named in the original poem that was titled “A visit from St Nick. The poem was written in the early 1800’s.
.Do you recognize the “most famous reindeer of all?”
This shy little deer came along about a century later when cowboy, Gene Autry recorded the song that became a hit and remains popular today. Rudolf, it seems, was born with this terrible shiny nose that kept him out of the loop with the other reindeer, until Santa rescued him by turning his shame into something beautiful to help guide the sleigh on a foggy night. He became the leader and has continued to be hailed as a loved one because he made himself useful to Santa and the others.
I like this story because it reminds of us of what God can do for us. There is a very short and not often told story in the Bible that is much like this story of Rudolph. It’s actually almost hidden in I Chronicles chapter 4, verses 9 and 10. These two verses are all the Bible says about Jabez, the honorable brother, who, because his mother suffered loss or hurt before his birth, she named him Jabez which literally means “you will cause Pain.” Because he was more honorable than his brothers we can assume that his brothers did not treat him so well, since he was born with this “curse” over him. He obviously did not want to cause pain to others, and called out to the Lord asking God to bless him and help him not cause pain. He also prayed to be delivered from the evil one and asked if God would help him, help others by enlarging his territory. And do you know what happened? “God granted his request.” This story reminded me so much of the Rudolph story that I was able to write a song to the tune of Rudolph that tells the Jabez story.
Now you can go to this YouTube link and sing along as I got some of my young friends to help me sing it. Go ahead sing it, It’s kind of fun, and remember we all suffer from things that happen to us over which we have no control. As this season of Christmas comes to a close take a tip from Jabez and ask God to take away your burden and turn it into something good.