The image of a Kneeling Santa depicts the modern St Nick kneeling in worshipful prayer beside the Christ child in the Manger. Many parents and teachers struggle with the concept of Santa Claus, but that anxiety isn't necessary. One way to approach the Santa Claus issue is to explain that the legends surrounding Santa are based on a real, historical figure named St Nicholas, a Christian bishop known for his generosity. So how do you reconcile Santa, Jesus, and St Nicholas? Simple - Tell the true story of Christ birth, then read the mythical Kneeling Santa Book. Proclaim the true message of Christmas, and share the fun story of the modern Santa to illustrate the point. It is perfectly acceptable to tell you child Christmas is, "part Bible, part legend, part history, and part just for fun."
The real St Nicholas was a fourth-century bishop in Myra, now a Turkish city. Stories abound of his generosity and anonymous gifts. In one, a poor man and his three daughters cannot afford the necessary dowries to be married. Nicholas, completely anonymously, tosses three bags of gold through the window--providing for both the dowries and their other needs. All three girls wed and live happily ever after. Because of that story and several others like it, Catholics honor St Nicholas as the patron saint of newlyweds and weddings.
Our modern Santa Claus appeared in the mid 1900s thanks to Clement Clark Moore's poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" - better known as, "The Night Before Christmas"; Frank Church's editorial, "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus," and the movie, "Miracle On 34th Street", staring Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood, and Gene Lockhart sealed the deal for our American Santa.
The Kneeling Santa
In his December, 1987 Interim article Father Ted wrote an article about a Kneeling Santa in the stable with the shepherds and wise men. It is obviously mythical; the child Jesus, and Mary, his mother is of course not factually true. He stated,
"It is a story, but it has a message for us and the message is this: Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. Everything else - Santa, gifts, parties, plays and dances - all have a legitimate place and meaning under one condition. The condition is that, like the fictitious Kneeling Santa, these seasonal features and festivities begin annually to reawaken in us the true meaning of Christmas."The following anonymous poem was written about the Kneeling Santa:
The sleigh was all packed, the reindeer were fed,
But Santa still knelt by the side of his bed,
"Dear Father, " he prayed, "Be with me tonight.
There's much work to do and my schedule is tight.
My sack will hold toys to grant all kids' wishes.
The supply will be endless like the loaves and the fishes.
I can do all these things, Lord, only through You.
I just need your blessing, then it's easy to do.
I do this only to honor the birth of the One,
That was sent to redeem us, Your most Holy Son.
So to all of my friends, lest Your glory I rob,
Please, Lord, remind them who gave me this job."
The story and the heart of a Worshiping Kneeling Santa is reflected in each and every toy, ornament and lighted figurine. When people notice the Santa, and question the concept, you can enjoy telling the story.