"Ho, ho, ho! And a merry Christmas to you!" bellowed a tall Santa at the entrance to Mia's favorite toy store. Mia and her dad were doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. They needed a few more things for the shoeboxes they were filling for kids who lived in orphanages in poor countries.
"Dad, why do I see so many Santas around at Christmas instead of manger scenes?" Mia wondered aloud. "Everywhere I look I see Santa! See, there's a gigantic stuffed Santa right over there!"
"I agree, there's a lot more of Santa than Jesus in most stores at Christmas," said Dad. "I think the tradition of Santa has overshadowed the truth of Jesus' birth. However, not many people know the story of the real Saint Nicholas where our tradition of Santa began. Do you want to hear it?"
"Of course!" said Mia.
"According to history scholars, Saint Nicholas was born a long time ago around 280 A.D., which means 280 years after Jesus' birth," Dad explained. "His parents were very wealthy and left him a large inheritance when they died. Nicholas was a Christian, so he decided to share his wealth by giving gifts and money to the poor and sick in his town. He later became a Christian bishop in the church and eventually became Saint Nicholas."
"So, did he wear a red suit and have a white beard?" asked Mia.
"No one really knows what Saint Nicholas looked like. All we know is he had a reputation of giving to those in need," Dad said.
"Just like we're filling those shoeboxes for the needy kids!" Mia exclaimed.
"Exactly!" said Dad. "People often associate Santa with getting a lot of presents. Instead, I think we should think of Saint Nicholas and giving to others. And remember, the reason Saint Nicholas gave to others was to show Jesus' love to them. As a Christian, he knew the greatest gift we could ever receive was Jesus, who became human in order to save us from sin. That's really what Christmas is all about--celebrating the gift of Jesus!" Kendra AngleHOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you focus on giving to others at Christmas? Sometimes it’s easy to make Christmas all about getting presents for ourselves rather than thinking of how we can give to others. Money and presents aren’t the only ways to give. Share a kind word, do something extra around the house, or let someone go ahead of you in line. When you give, you point to the greatest gift of all—Jesus.
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: 2 Corinthians 9:15 (KJV)
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (NKJV)