Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How Did Santa Claus Originate?

The model for Santa was a fourth century Christian bishop named Saint Nicholas, from Lycia.  In the Middle Ages, legends about Nicholas as a kind, gift-giving Christian, began to flourish.  He was particularly popular in Holland where customs linking Nicholas to Christmas seem to have first begun.

Dutch children expected the friendly saint to visit them during the night of December 5 when they placed their wooden shoes by the fireplace to be filled with gifts.  Santa Claus is the Americanization of Sinterklaas.  By the time Santa Claus became part of American lore, children had discovered that you can get more gifts in a sock than you can in a wooden shoe!

American poet, Clement Moore, may be more responsible than any other person for popularizing  Santa Claus.  He wrote, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" in 1822 which begins with the famous line, "'Twas the night before Christmas. . . . . . " and it was published in the Troy New York Sentinel. It gained immediate popularity and has endured ever since.

Unlike the myth about Santa Claus that gained traction over the years, we know that Christians around the world set aside Christmas as a day to celebrate the real historic birth of Jesus Christ - God in Flesh - entering the world.  Roman Emperor Constantine declared December 25th as an official holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and the date has endured for centuries.

We at Creekside extend to everyone, the prayer that you will find the celebration of Jesus' birth filled with peace, comfort and joy.           Bob           

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