Monday, December 03, 2012

A Letter From St. Nick

Dear Michael & Mackenzie,

It's time to let you in on a little secret.  My name is Saint Nicholas but you call me Santa Claus which is a variation of my name as its pronounced (Sinterklaas) by the Dutch people.  First let me tell you that I am a real person...or at least I was.  By now you've probably heard some people say that I am not real...so I thought I should clear that up for you.  But I lived a long time ago and currently reside in heaven, not the North Pole.

I was born in a Greek village called Patara in the third century.  My parents died when I was very young leaving me all of their money.  They were considered to be rich for the time I lived and so that left me with lots of money.  Like you, I love Jesus, and I wanted to serve Him the best way I knew how.  So I used all of that money to help the needy, the sick, and the suffering.  Another thing I should tell you is that I really did give gifts secretly, especially to children.  One time in particular I left some gold coins in the shoes of three poor girls who didn't have enough money for a dowry   A dowry is money that a bride's family gives over to the groom so that he will marry them.  If I hadn't given them this gift, they might have been sold into slavery rather than be able to marry.  Word got out that I put a present in those shoes and the next thing you know, lots of other people started leaving their shoes and even "stockings" (which are like long socks) out for me to give them things too.

I worked as a Bishop for many years serving Jesus, teaching about Him, and caring for others.  Emperor Diocletian, who didn't like Christians, even put me in jail for a while just for believing in God.  I did get out of prison in the year 325 AD though and continued my ministry and work until the year 343 when I died.  Don't worry, as I said before I am in heaven and its a wonderful place.  But the people began celebrating St. Nicholas Day on December 19th where many of the traditions you are used to began.  On one hand I am very honored that my name has anything to do with the Birth of Jesus.  He is who I serve and love.  But I certainly never meant for anyone to focus on me instead of Jesus.

So let me ask you a favor, ok?   It's alright to have fun this time of year.  It's alright to enjoy the lights, decorations, making a snowman if it snows, and buying each other gifts.  Just make sure you are doing it to honor Jesus, not me.  I am just a man.  Jesus is our Lord and Savior.  He deserves all the glory, honor, and praise.  Jesus said, what you do for the least of these, you have done for me also.  So when we give gifts, especially to those in need, we are giving to Jesus.  It is a great way to wish Him a Happy Birthday!

Yours truly,

Saint Nicholas

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