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Summary: We have all told our children about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Did they really exist? Read this sermon to find out!

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Who is JESUS?

Matthew 16:13-20

13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"

14So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

15He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

16Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

17Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

19And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

20Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

How many of you...

put out cookies and milk for Santa Claus?

On Christmas morning...

we found an empty glass and cookie crumbles under the tree.

Does that mean Santa Claus...

Really did show up Christmas morning?

How many put teeth you lost as a child...

under your pillow for the Tooth Fairy?

We also found money beneath our pillows.

Did the Tooth Fairy really come during the night?

Now, we know that there really was a Santa Claus.

Saint Nicholas was born in 270 and died December 6th, 346.

He had a reputation for secret gift-giving...

and became the model for Santa Claus.

His English name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas.

There also was a real Tooth Fairy.

In 1827, a small group of people settled around a bay at Port Fairy, Australia. Among them was a newly wed couple, Sonny and Matilda Dixon. The town soon began to grow due to its fast developing fishing industry. Local stores began to spring up, and people started to cultivate the land.

However, in 1836, Sonny Dixon was killed in a fishing accident, leaving his wife Matilda a widow. After her husband's death, Matilda became very close to the town's children. She would tell bake cakes and give them to the children when they lost a tooth, thus earning the name "Tooth Fairy."

One night in 1840, while she was sleeping, a fire in her stove raged out of control. By the time the townspeople came to her rescue, the fire was out. But Matilda refused to come to the door or accept their assistance. The fire in her home left her horribly disfigured with an extreme sensitivity to light, she wore a porcelain mask, and only went out at night. From then on she ceased all contact with the outside world. Still, from time to time, she would leave gifts at the doorsteps of children's houses, usually small change, since she had stopped baking. Matilda would wander the streets only under the cover of night, her face hidden behind a white porcelain mask, and look for houses where children had left their baby teeth in a handkerchief tacked to the front door.

One afternoon in 1841, two young children told their parents that they were off to visit "the Tooth Fairy." When they failed to return home, suspicion immediately fell on Matilda. The official search party quickly turned into an angry mob, thirsty for revenge. Armed with torches and a rope, they raced up the twisting road toward Matilda's house.

Matilda bolted her door as the mob began hurling rocks at the house and screaming for her to come out. In an anguished, confused voice, she proclaimed her innocence, but it was no use. Half a dozen men broke down the door and dragged Matilda out, knocking over a huge jar and spilling hundreds of baby teeth across the floor.

Matilda covered her face with the porcelain mask and cried out for mercy. Though she begged them not to peek, two men pried the mask away from her face and smashed it on the ground. The men gasped, and some became ill, when they saw what was behind the mask -- a once kind face now burned beyond recognition and contorted by pain and anguish. No one who was there ever forgot what he saw, though they never spoke about it, except to cry out in the middle of a nightmare.

Matilda was hanged and suffered terribly before she died, kicking and flailing. When there was finally no breath left in her body, they set fire to it and, to ease their consciences, agreed that what they had done was an act of justice.

As they looked up at the strangled, charred body, there were shouts in the distance. The rest of the town's inhabitants were running up the winding road toward them, stopping dead in their tracks at the sight of the poor old woman's dangling corpse. The crowd parted and there were the two lost children, who had simply lost their way, wandered too deep into the woods, and fallen asleep.

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