The case has been decided, Santa Claus does exist. Some of us call him Kris Kringle. Others call him St. Nick. Is he a jolly old elf? Is he a legend of splendid acts of charity and giving?
The story began in Bethlehem. Jesus was born in a manger. God became man and took a human nature. He was greeted by three kings while resting in the arms of His mother, the blessed Virgin Mary. They brought him gifts and this gift giving continued, like it does now, through the ages. Saint Nicholas maintained this tradition throughout his life. But Christ always was his focus as it should always be.
The movie, Miracle on 34th Street is a wonderful movie, yet it misses the point. Its not important to believe in Santa Claus. Its not important to receive gifts to the point of excess. The true point of Christmas is to realize that God humbled Himself and became man. He is our Christmas gift. He gave us His life. Christ desires us all to believe Him: his word, his teachings, and His Church more than a generic and meaningless belief "in" His existence as we believe in the existence of atoms.
Mere belief is never enough. Belief in God must be demonstrated. Saint Nicholas, a priest and bishop, truly and entirely believed in Christ; therefore, he humbled himself to imitate Christ by giving of himself. He gave up possessions and wealth to serve the poor (needy and lost) with a goal of leading them all to Christ and eternal life in heaven.
Saint Nicholas is known to have saved three daughters from prostitution by secretly placing dowry money in a bag and dropping down the chimney of their home so the father of these beautiful woman could be married and preserved from debauchery. Saint Nicholas is thought well of by mariners who prayed for his intercession to be saved from ship wreck amidst of a raging sea.
Saint Nicholas, as a bishop of the Catholic Church in the East fought the heresy of Arianism. His desire to stay true to the faith taught through the ages caused him great pain and suffering at the hands of the Arians who had him tossed in jail and tortured to deny the true faith. He remained true to Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother, setting an example to all of us to always stand true for the faith even if it hurts.
So, there is a miracle on 34th street. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with a jolly old elf, but with the giving up of ourselves for the salvation and welfare of others. It is for all of us to remember, including me who just posted a list of things I would like to receive. That is wrong thinking, and a poor example of the true spirit of Christmas. The true spirit of Christmas was exemplified by the three wise men (who risked their lives to deliver their gifts to God), and Saint Nicholas. Each of them took an opportunity to give to whoever needed their help regardless of cost. Let us remember Christmas that way; to give rather than to receive and to give of ourselves rather than things.
I did receive that Brooks Saddle given to me from my wonderful bride. I do appreciate it very much and hope I can be a better man as we finish this Christmas season and a new year commences. Til then, i shall see you on the road.