The Santa Discovery

By Rev. H. Gordon Smith III

I remember the year I "found out"! "Mom," I said with a beleaguered tone as I got off the bus, "Billy said that Santa isn't real. Is that true?" Can you remember the year you "found out"? Perhaps it was at the playground during recess, or the discovery of mom and dad putting a toy under the tree. There was a year we all "found out."

You might find this surprising, but I don't believe Billy. I believe that Santa is real. And his name is Nicholas. He was a real man who was born in a real place (Myra) and even became a real bishop of that place. He was known for his theological conviction at the Council of Nicaea, and was beloved by his congregation. In fact, in the fourth century he endured persecution for his faith, having willingly submitted himself to the authorities to protect his parishioners from harm.

It is St. Nick's generosity to the poor for which he is most known. The most famous story is that Nicholas dropped a bag of money at night, on three separate occasions, for three separate daughters in order to provide a proper dowry for a poor father who had lost everything. Legend has it that at one point, the bag of gold fell off the table and into a sock that was being hung on the fireplace to dry. Now you understand why we hang stockings from the fireplace!

When the day came that I was asked by one of my children, "Dad? Is Santa real?" I told them the truth. Yes! He was a real man, who gave to those who were in real need, because his love for God was real! As we hang up our stockings, may we discover again the truth that, "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35b, NIV).

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