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And all we have to do is follow his example.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  He is not just an idea.  He was, and is, a saint.  A saint who reminds us that we are loved without limits.  A saint who challenges us to remove the limits on how we love others.  A saint who calls us to holiness as we prepare to celebrate the greatest gift mankind has ever received.


HARRISBURG, PA. (Catholic Online) -Years ago, a little girl named Virginia O'Hanlon wrote to the editor of the New York Sun asking if Santa Claus was real.  His answer, which spoke of skeptical men in a skeptical age who only believed in what they could see, is as relevant today as it was when Frank Church wrote it.

The name and face of Santa has been plastered over advertising, billboards, movies and television.  We have single Santa's looking for wives, reluctant Santa's trying to escape their destinies, drafted Santa's to replace one who is "retiring", and even bad Santa's.  The stories all have happy endings, with the magic of the North Pole somehow saving the day.

None of them are real, and many of them are even distasteful. Thankfully, none of them is Santa, either.  Because Saint Nicholas, like every saint, is real.

He was born in Asia Minor and was bishop of the town of Myra in the fourth century.  When he died he was buried in the cathedral there.  When the Saracens conquered Myra in the early eleventh century, his remains were moved to the Italian city of Bari in 1087. His tomb is visited by thousands every year, even to this day.

His bones exude a clear liquid, called the "manna of Saint Nicholas", which is extracted from the shrine every year on May 9 in a formal ceremony conducted by the Rector of the Basilica in Bari, in the presence of the delegate of the Pope, the Archbishop of Bari, an Orthodox Bishop, civil authorities, the local clergy and the faithful.  This has happened every year since 1980.  The manna is distributed and is considered a relic with healing properties.

Nicholas is the patron saint of children, Russia, Greece, Sicily, sailors, prisoners, bakers, and pawnbrokers.  His image is second only to Mary's in religious icons of both the Eastern and Western churches.

The stories of his generosity and kindness are legendary.

Santa Claus is a translation of his name.

When our children are little, we tell them to "ask Santa" at Christmas time.  They can ask for anything - without limit.  All Santa wants in return is goodness.

Isn't that exactly how we are supposed to relate to God?

But God is bigger than anything that we can comprehend.  Developing an effective and complete relationship with God is the work of a lifetime.  A work which most of us do not finish before our time here is done.  That is why He sent His Son - so we would have someone we COULD connect with.

Saint Nicholas is a person who made that connection.  When people pretend to be Santa, they act with levels of generosity and charity and kindness that they do not normally exhibit.  In other words, they get closer to God.  In doing so, they discover happiness.

And even in the convoluted versions of Santa being pushed by today's secular media, that message of happiness through goodness continues to resonate.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  He is not just an idea.  He was, and is, a saint.  A saint who reminds us that we are loved without limits.  A saint who challenges us to remove the limits on how we love others.  A saint who calls us to holiness as we prepare to celebrate the greatest gift mankind has ever received.

And all we have to do is follow his example.

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Peg Luksik is the Chairman of the Center for American Heritage. Learn more about the heritage of this exceptional nation at www.centerforamericanheritage.com

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Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.

Keywords: Peg Luksik, Santa Claus, St Nicholas, love, God's love, Christmas, saints



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1 - 4 of 4 Comments

  1. NORMAN C CARR
    2 years ago

    Thank you,people need to know that SANTA even in his American form was and is a servant of God.Its not his fault that people over commercialize him.And he still lives in spirit and magical wonder..

  2. Rosalie
    2 years ago

    This is the Santa Claus we Catholics need to teach our children to believe in - the real man who became a bishop and a Saint. The one who socked the heretic Arius in the face in defense of Christ's divinity :D

  3. john
    2 years ago

    Thank you for this article.I have two little boys age 3 and 5.We tell them about St.Nicholas and place a little staute of him over our fireplace during advent.We also have a childrens cartoon video about him called..St Nicholas..the boy who became Santa.For years I have told people who struggle with how to tell children the truth about Santa Claus about the life of St Nicholas..how he was a real person..and that now that he is in Heaven..he truly can see if you are good or bad and he can watch over you from there,that he is still very much alive in heaven..and in spirit of those who live out there Christian faith as Jesus showed us.Excellent and timely article.

  4. Marion
    2 years ago

    St Nicholas is also the patron saint of brides.

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