Santa has always been something I've dismissed, as I suspect you have, as a silly fairy tale. Something prompted me to take a second look, and I was
surprised at the result.
If you're interested in a discussion along the normal lines of commercialism v. Christmas cheer, see the debate between adjensen and Hefficide on the
topic: "Belief In Santa: Beautiful Custom or Humbug?"
but I intend to go beyond that.
I must make clear that my belief isn't in the Santa of modern commercialism. That is too recent to bear the hallmarks of real truth. Nor will I
insist on chimneys and flying reindeer. Eliminating those does not shake my faith in Santa, however.
What do we know, historically, about Santa?
During the Reformation, Martin Luther replaced the celebration of St. Nicholas with a Christkind 'Christ Child' celebration on Christmas Eve.
The Christkind morphed into Kris Kringle, who came to be identified with Santa Claus.
The name Santa Klaus comes from St. Nicholas: The Dutch Sint-Niklaas was shortened to Sinterklaas and Americanized to Santa Claus.
Fine, then who was Saint Nicholas? (From the same source)
St. Nicholas Day is
December 6. St. Nicholas is a legendary figure connected with Christmas gift-givers like Santa Klaus. He is thought to have lived in the 4th century,
and to have been born in Lycia in Asia Minor. He was probably bishop in the Lycian city of Myra at the time of the Emperor Diocletian and may have
been present at the Council of Niceas under Constantine, although his name is excluded from lists of attending bishops.
Nicholas is thought to have been wealthy and to have given his gold away to help others. There is a story that he provided bags of gold as dowries for
three daughters of a poor man to keep them from having to become prostitutes.
So we see St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) as having been a man of great
resources and generosity.
There is a belief in the Catholic Church, and some other religions, in the Communion of Saints. Briefly stated:
The communion of saints is the
spiritual solidarity which binds together the faithful on earth, the souls in purgatory, and the saints in heaven in the organic unity of the same
mystical body under Christ its head, and in a constant interchange of supernatural offices. The participants in that solidarity are called
saints by reason of their destination and of their partaking of the fruits of the Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:2 — Greek Text). (emphasis added)
Certainly, a supernatural office might include the gift of love and generosity. Therefore, it is not difficult to see how Saint Nicholas might be
recreating himself, through love and generosity in the hearts of millions of people around the world.
If I were to wiggle one finger, would not that finger be me? And if I wiggled ten fingers, would they not all be me? Then why can't St. Nicholas
"wiggle" millions of "fingers" and they are all still him?
So perhaps, instead of believing in one Santa Claus, I should have said I believe in Santa Claus appearing in millions of "fingers", especially
during the Christmas season.
Merry Christmas to you all,