I love the tradition of Santa Claus. I always have. But, even more than the myth, I love the real story. Nicholas was born in the third century in the village a Patara located on the southern coast of Turkey. He was raised by wealthy parents who were devout Christian and who died leaving him a wealthy orphan. He was made a Bishop of Myra while a young man. To follow the example of Jesus, he used his entire fortune to bless the needy. He was known for his generosity to children and his love for them.
In 2006, we have added some glitz, a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer to the mix. But, the idea that someone could do some small kindness for children and then have so many millions of people try to commit similar small acts of kindness1800 years later in an attempt to do likewise is a miracle that cannot be surpassed by Santas that come down the chimney and fly all over the world in one night. That is the kind of Santa it is so important to believe in, just a normal person who wanted to do some good and who made the lives of the people around him a little better.
In our current culture where the idea of personal responsibility seems to take a daily beating in the media, the concept that one regular person can make a real difference seems less and less popular. And yet, one person makes a real difference all the time.
In order to become a Catholic Saint you have to have so many recorded miracles to your name. I don't know about those or what they are. What I do know is that he did perform one miracle of which I am sure. He was a good example.
I believe in Santa Claus and in the idea that anything or anyone that can inspire us to reach beyond ourselves to do a bit more for someone who needs us is something to believe in at Christmas time and all the other times of the year.
And, I believe that the real story of Santa is better than the myth, as it often is.