Summary: The Christlike attributes of Saint Nicholas.

The Real Santa Claus

Most of the time, this is the picture that comes to mind when we think of Santa Claus {video clip}... Actually, the “REAL” Santa Claus looks like this {picture of Saint Nicholas}...

This is Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was born 300 years after the birth of Jesus Christ. He was born to some wealthy parents in the city of Pantara (area of modern day Turkey) around 270 A.D. and lived until about 350 A.D. His parents raised him in the church but they suddenly died from a plague that struck the area when he was just five-years-old. It was then that Nicholas went to live with his uncle who happened to be a monk. Through his uncle’s influence, Nicholas became a monk also. Since monks are not to be wealthy, Nicholas wanted to use his inheritance to help people. His life of giving is what gave way to the legend that we have today in Santa Claus. You see the Dutch who settled in the early days of New York called St. Nicholas - “Sinterklass” which is how got the name “Santa Claus.” His royal red robe, white beard, and giving heart transformed into the American version that we have today.

This morning, I want to show 3 of Saint Nicholas’ greatest biblical qualities that can help us remedy our thoughts about Santa Claus.

First, Saint Nicholas had a kind heart... Saint Nicholas LOVED people, especially children. Seeing their happy faces brought him great joy! Children would just flock to see him! Since he was a high church official, he would generate great fervor as he entered various places. Wherever Saint Nicholas went, he always had little gifts for the children. He’d give away candy, toys, and religious symbols to them! These surprised children would just beam with happiness because of his kindness. Saint Nicholas wanted to teach the children that it was more blessed to give than receive. It’s true isn’t it? Our lives are truly blessed when we can give to others and bring joy to their lives! The same joy we bring to others through acts of kindness will be returned to us somehow, some way. But it all starts from a heart of kindness.

There’s a story of a man who carried a small can of oil with him wherever he went. He wanted to go through life lubricating all the hard places and make it easier for those who came behind him. Whenever he came a cross a squeaky door, he poured some oil on the hinges. Whenever he came across a gate that was hard to open, he’d oil the latch. Whenever something was hard to crank, he’d squeeze some oil on the shafts. Lots of people thought it was very odd for him to do so and they made fun of him. They called him crazy, nuts, weird, strange, and silly. But the man went steadily on, refilling his can of oil whenever it got low so he could keep on oiling all the hard places that he came across. The great thing about him is that he didn’t wait to find a hard place and then go get his can of oil for he always had his can with him so he could oil it immediately. You and I could learn a great lesson from this man.

You and I come across lives that are in some pretty hard places at times. What better thing to do than to lubricate those parts of people’s lives with some oil of kindness, thoughtfulness, and gentleness! Yet we must never leave it at home, we must carry it with us WHEREVER we are so we can oil immediately! What does Colossians 3: 12 tell us? As God’s people, we’re to CLOTHE ourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. That way, we’ll always have it with us and ready to give away! And when we do, we’ll deeply touch other people’s lives! Just like Saint Nicholas, we must have a heart of kindness!

Secondly, Saint Nicholas had a generous heart... One time, Saint Nicholas heard that 3 young ladies could not get married because their father could not afford a dowry for all of them. The 3 daughters would have to be condemned to a life os singleness, slavery, or prostitution unless the father could afford a dowry for all of them. Saint Nicholas came up with a plan. As each daughter came of age for marriage, Saint Nicholas would secretly give a bag of gold coins to them under the cover of night (sound familiar?) in order to save each girl from a life of misery! If there was one thing he was committed to, it was giving in order to help others. He had all this money but instead of using for himself, he used it to benefit others. When it comes to us, can we say the same thing?

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