From the Vicarage
From the Vicarage by Rev. Dr James Bruce
"Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man's hat".
Where on earth did that memory come from? It just popped into my head as I sat down to wish you a very Happy Christmas as we celebrate the birth of the Christ in this His year, 2019.
Christ actually means 'the anointed one' which in turn means 'the long expected one who comes to rescue the earth from the miss-it's-in.'
'Jesus' means 'God-to-the-rescue' so Jesus' unusual name, Jesus Christ, means 'God -to-the-rescue who is the long expected one who would come to the rescue earth from the mess-it's-in.' !!
The 'Mass' bit means a gathering together, so Christmas means we're gathering together to celebrate the birth of God-to-the-rescue who is the long expected One who would come to rescue the earth from the mess it's in.
So how did we get from there to Santa being the dominant character of the season?
The missing link is another missing memory of an early Christian leader called Nicklaus (Nicolas) who lived in the third century in what we now call Turkey. Nicklaus was Bishop of Myra. He heard of three daughters who were about to be sold into slavery as their family was destitute.
Over three nights, he dropped three ball-shaped bags of gold coins wrapped in socks through their window at Christmas, and they landed by the fireplace. The girls found them, and the family was saved. Saint Nicklaus, as he became known, helped many other people, particularly children, so his story became entwined with children at Christmas. Saint Nicklaus became known as 'Sant' or in some languages Santa (meaning Saint) Ni-Claus (Santa NiClaus) and eventually this was shortened down to Santa Claus.
But where did the Red Hat And Suit come from that we associate so closely to Santa Claus?
Well the truth is that Saint Nicklaus wore a small pointed hat (called a mitre) and also a long red robe. In the last century it didn't take the Coca Cola company long to come up with the imaginary cartoon type figure for their advertising campaigns of the Santa Claus we recognise today! And it's stuck!
So we now see the modern image of Santa surrounded by baubles, bags of gold coins, stockings full of presents and of course The Man in the Red Hat and Coat!
So Yes - Santa Claus is Very Real and a Very True Story of a kind and generous Christian Bishop from almost 2000 years ago.
God Bless Us, as we trust in Christ to transform us, our churches and our communities.
Transitional Team Rector,
Cartmel Peninsular Team Ministry
Will the Real Santa Please Stand Up?
The Real Santa Claus
Coca Cola's Santa Character
St Anne's Haverthwaite - Where we began
Consecrated in 1825 by the Bishop of Chester
The church was built between 1923 and 1825 and funded by Public Subscriptions. It was originally a Chapel of Ease under Colton Parish, and without a legally defined district to which it could be associated to serve. Later it became a parish in it's own right.