What Really P*%^#$ Off Me About Saint Nicholas

Jason Micheli —  December 6, 2013 — 4 Comments

Since today is Saint Nicholas Day, here’s one from the vault:

Look, I’ve got no beef with Santa Claus (here pictured in his original likeness as a 4th century bishop in Turkey). nicholas

I’ve got no beef with the red-faced, portly merry version of Santa either. I’m not one of these robotronic, literalist Christians who think everything not explicitly spelled out in the bible is pagan. You know, the ones who protested the first Harry Potter movie for promoting witchcraft? Talk about picking a losing cultural argument.

So, no, no problem here with Saint Nick.

Per se.

Red-nosed reindeer, elves working for poverty wages, your kids writing letters to a fictional person, the mathematical impossibility of visiting every child’s house in every nook and cranny of the earth in 24 hours when it took me something like 4 1/2 days to get to Cambodia on a vehicle fueled by, you know, fuel instead of hooves, which presumably have a hard time getting traction, conditioning our children into consumer capitalism with an amalgam of myths…I don’t have a problem with any of it. I don’t think it’s idolatry, undermines the faith or sets our children up to question everything else once they learn the Christmas con.

Nope, I think wonder, imagination, and fantasy are a great and normal part of a healthy childhood. So bring it on. 

Except.

The past few days my son has been talking about how if he’s ‘on the naughty list then Santa won’t bring [me] any gifts. He watches us all the time to see if we’re naughty or we’re good.’ 

Bam.

Suddenly, that sweet bearded old man with a whiskeyed complexion looks not a little like the Dark Lord, Sauron, with his all-knowing eye of fire and ire.  

Eye-of-sauron2

And it’s that, not all the other stuff, that pisses me off about Santa.

Because what could be more contrary to the Christmas Gospel than the idea of God constantly watching our every move to see if we’re good or not? To see if we’re worth rewarding with a gift or if he should instead stick us with a ‘you shouldadunbetter lump of coal.’ 

Not to get too preachy but the Gospel is: ‘God died for us while we were yet sinners.’

The Christmas Gospel, therefore, is: ‘While we were yet sinners, God took flesh and gave us the gift of himself.’ 

And, dammit, I want my son to know that God loves him regardless if he’s naughty or nice. 

And so do I.

And that fat man with the little helpers and hoes is screwing that message up. santa-claus

Here’s another thing: The real Saint Nick took it on the chin and was exiled by the Roman Emperor Diocletian for the Gospel. The real Saint Nick was at the Council of Nicea where he landed one- literally- on the chin of Arius (later to be named a heretic) for Arius’ assertion that the person we meet in Jesus Christ is anything less than the fullness of the Godhead revealed perfectly.

So I’d be willing to bet a great big plate of cookies that, somewhere up in Heaven, all this naughty or nice nonsense pisses the real St Nick off too. 

Jason Micheli

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4 responses to What Really P*%^#$ Off Me About Saint Nicholas

  1. Looks like someone is going to be on the naughty list….

  2. Tere may in fact be some historical basis for the “naughty or nice” thing; i.e., Bishop Nicholaus provided gold to several girls every year so that they wouldn’t resort to prostitution to get by. He may well have checked in on them to ensure that they were avoiding that vocation.

    “Santa in a Brothel”
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/takeandread/2011/11/santa-in-a-brothel/

    What is ironic to me however was Nicholaus’ own naughtiness in violating one of the essential teachings of Jesus; i.e. the call to nonviolence. IMO, that’s a far graver breech of faithfulness to Jesus than Arianism.

  3. St Nicholas carried slaves in tow. In many depictions he’s seen taming a “black devil” commonly depicted as a black slave doing house chores. He ran workhouses and if the child slaves behaved well (reached their targets) they would be given a token gift (apple etc), if they were bad (didn’t work hard enough) they would be beaten by St Nic and his slaves, stuffed in a sack and abducted to be taken elsewhere (probably for sex in the light of recent years revelations).

    Also, he procured women under the pretence of helping them, but it’s much more likely he had his own uses for them. St Nicholas wore the cross of St George, more well known as the cross of the knights Templar.

    In summary I believe St Nicholas was not only the user of black slaves, he also had child slaves (predominantly white child slaves from the Slavic (slave) countries). He also told the prisons “why kill the people in prison when we could work them for profits”? So he then had access to slaves who he could treat even worse than the “free” slaves he had before.

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  1. St. Nick is Getting A Lot of Play « Teer Hardy - December 6, 2012

    […] century Bishop of Myra, being today I have notice a few blogs focusing in on Saint Nicholas.  The first expressing their disdain for how we have transformed this Saint to keep our kids in line and another who will celebrate by […]

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