6 December is the feast of Bishop St Nicholas of Myra. That's not at the North Pole, but a town in Lycia which was in what is now the southwestern coast of Turkey.
OK "everybody knows" that "Santa Claus" has his origins in the stories about St Nicholas, "St Nick" or -- nicknames in some languages coming from the last rather than the first part of a given name -- Santa Klaus morphing into Santa Claus, and he went around giving anonymous gifts to kids tossing them over the transom into their shoes, which is where putting the shoes or hanging stockings comes from.
Now what was the point of that, so there's be kids like you see in the commercials waking up in nice homes and being all happy with their yet more stuff for Christmas?
Hell no. St Nicholas came from a wealthy family, and as a pastor gave pretty much all his inheritance away to help poor children and families. And particularly, in those days, poor girls without a dowry would likely not end up wives and mothers in nice households and likely would end up as prostitutes. So the gifts had a real rough practical edge to them, to help turn a life around by giving them a start their circumstances couldn't.
And the same guy who did this -- whaddya wanna call it, outreach, winning souls, meeting needs -- also was at the Council of Nicea at a time when it seemed the whole church was heading into heresy of Arianism. And what did they do, say wow look at how those Arians connect with people, maybe we should quit worrying about all these barriers we put up and preach and worship more like they do with our content?
No, St Nick was among the most vocal standing for the catholic faith against Arianism, which led to the formulation of the Nicene Creed we confess at mass. So next time someone says we gotta get rid of all this hang up on doctrine and liturgy and get with the mission field and outreach, take a bloody clue from St Nick.
Or Wilhelm Löhe, whose half-fast Lutheran church body found him just not quite with it and stuck him in a little town in Bavaria, from which he arranged spiritual and temporal missionaries all over the world and worked mightily for authentic Lutheran liturgy and doctrine, whose good effects are bearing fruit to this day.
Hell yes there's a Santa Claus. It's you, me, us, St Nick and the whole communion of saints. So get out there and do something for somebody in a tight spot, and stand for the pure Christian faith and worship confessed in our Confessions, among which is the Nicene Creed btw, instead of all the bogus feel-good happy-clappy crap.
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