Friday, December 5, 2014

Will the Real Santa Claus Please Stand Up?

Ever hear the expression "Truth is stranger than fiction"? When it comes to the lives of the saints, I would propose a few twists on that axiom:
  • Heroic virtue is stronger than superhero powers.
  • Eternal life is greater than worldly success.
  • Truth is more compelling than legend.
The Church celebrates the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6. Perhaps no other saint's life in the history of the Church has been more superseded by a legend than his. When most people think of St. Nicholas, the image they have is of a jolly, white-bearded Santa Claus shimmying his way down the chimney, with a large sack of toys slung over his back. The fact is that St. Nicholas' life of deep faith in Jesus, heroic defense of the truth (did you know that St. Nicholas was an outspoken defender against Arius and the Arian heresy at the Council of Nicea in 325AD?), and a heart filled with charity and generosity paints a far more interesting and abiding role model than Coca-Cola's image of Santa ever could

Learn more about this unique saint's life, death, and powerful stories of his intercession and celebrate the real Santa Claus with your family this year. Here are a few resources to check out.

1.The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Benedictine Monk Anselm Grun is a beautifully illustrated story for children of all ages about St. Nicholas. The book recounts his life and miracles attributed to his intercession. It would make a great addition to any Advent Book Basket.

2. For teens and adults looking to delve more deeply into the life of St. Nicholas, check out Wonderworker: The True Story of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus by Msgr. Vincent Yzermans. Msgr. Yzermans wrote this book for his great -nephew Nicholas. In it, he describes not only the life of St. Nicholas and the many miracles attributed to his intercession - he also describes the evolution of the modern Santa Claus. 

Msgr Yzermans includes this thought-provoking quote, from Robin Crichton, in the afterword of the book, in a letter written to his grand-nephew. As we celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas it is worth pondering the message about this one-of-a-kind saint that we wish to transmit to our children. 
"Santa Claus is faced with an identity crisis. He is schizophrenic. Which of all his multiple personalities will triumph in Christmases to come? Generations after generations of families have introduced their children to the legends, in one guise or another. Santa has survived for over 1700 years. Now he has reached perhaps the biggest crisis of his career and, as in his past, so his future will be a reflection of the values of the society which we in ou turn create for the generations to come." 
3. The Saint Nicholas Center is a terrific resource chock full of all things related to St. Nicholas, including: history, how different cultural traditions have developed, games, recipes and other activities for the entire family!

Please note that this post contains Amazon affiliate links - which means that if you click through the link and make a purchase - my domestic church will receive a small commission. Woo-hoo! We greatly appreciate it!

1 comment:

  1. Great list of resources! Perfect timing as I plan our day tomorrow. I love the St. Nicholas Center. They were a great help to me when I was designing an adult St. Thomas Aquinas costume for All Saints' and stumbled upon their St. Nicholas pattern. And then I couldn't stop browsing around their very rich site. Thanks and God bless!