Next to Jesus Christ, Santa is probably the most visible figure during the holidays, also know as Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle and Father Christmas. Dating back to the third century as a priest and bishop in the church, St. Nick is attributed with doing many benevolent and charitable acts of kindness and generosity.
Revered and honored by many around the world, St. Nick has a resume of accomplishments and good deeds even the most celebrated saint would be envious of.
St. Nicholas was born in Patara, Turkey in 270 A.D. His wealthy parents died when he was young. St. Nicholas used his inheritance to travel to the Holy Land to learn more about the Savior Jesus. He then used his parents wealth which he inherited to care for the poor and needy, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes. He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity.
The custom of gifting to children at Christmas was propagated by Martin Luther as an alternative to the previous very popular gift custom on St. Nicholas day, to focus the interest of the children to Christ instead of the veneration of saints. But Nicholas remained popular as gifts bearer for the people.
Santa was first a faithful follower of the baby Jesus. He was a Christian, a priest, a Christian leader. He never would have wanted to take away from the message of Jesus, the Savior who was born at Christmas.
In the end what St. Nick has set down for us all is a lifestyle of service and going the distance for the Lord Jesus Christ. St. Nick took his faith to the streets and made a difference-a worldwide difference-as a follower of Christ.
Pastor Chad Starfeldt
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran
Pastor Chad Starfeldt was installed at Shepherd of the Hills in June of 2012.