God loved us and gave Jesus to us. Jesus loved us and gave his life. Jesus showed us how to love and give to others, and that's what we do every year. We don't give gifts to each other because we have to; only because we want to out of a loving and generous spirit, like Jesus had.
You receive gifts from someone else too, though. Children around the world believe in Santa Claus, but they all call him different names in their own languages.
A long time ago in Greece, there was a boy named Nicholas. He was a Christian, just like we are. His family taught him from a very young age to be a good follower of Jesus. Nicholas did a lot of very nice things for many people and became well-known for his great generosity in the name of Jesus. He became known as St. Nicholas to Christians. St. Nicholas loved children and enjoyed giving to them. He began a tradition of bringing gifts to children while they were sleeping once a year early in December. Then he decided, since Christmas was a time to be joyous and and celebrate Jesus's birth, that would be the time he would bring gifts for everyone.
St. Nicholas's name sounds different in different countries, but he is the same good man. You usually call him Santa Claus. I don't know everything about St. Nicholas or Santa Claus, but it's not important to know everything. We don't know everything about God, but we know the important things, like how much he loves us.
We do a lot of things each Christmas that help us celebrate this wonderful time. All of these things help to make us feel happy and loved like God wants us to be. But all of the things we do to celebrate are like ornaments on our Christmas tree; if all the ornaments were gone, it wouldn't stop being a Christmas tree. If you didn't get presents, or if we didn't have a big meal, or if we didn't get to see all of the people we loved, it would still be Christmas. Christmas, above all else is the day God gave us the best gift of all: Jesus.
Someday, that is what I will tell our children about Christmas presents and Santa Claus. Yes, I'm going to tell them about Santa Claus. Because I believe in Santa Claus.
Recently I was reading an advice column where a parent asked what to do if another child told your child there was no Santa Claus. After the etiquette portion of how to speak to the other child's parent, advice was given on supporting your child's belief. The expert said the most important thing was to assert to your child that you believe in Santa. When the writer was surprised, he replied, "Well, don't we all believe in Santa in one way or another?"
We do. I believe in Santa.
Santa is a wonderful, happy, giving spirit asking nothing in return.
Now read that sentence again with Santa not as a noun, but as an adjective.
Santa is bringing joy to others.
Now read that sentence again with Santa not as a noun, but as a verb.
What do you think? Do you believe in Santa?