Today is the feast of St Nicholas. He was a Bishop in what is now part of Turkey and who lived in the 4th century.
He was noted for helping the poor.
The name becomes distorted to our modern-day Santa Claus who became Father Christmas.
The figure of a Jolly corpulent old man with a long white beard dressed in red is very familiar to most.
For many, this figure brings happy memories, often soothing amidst the challenges of life.
He was one of the figures of my childhood as was the Christmas tree.
However, the crib in a central part of the house and a statue of baby Jesus decorated in one of the windows of the house as in so many other homes was also most important.
The other religious symbols and Advent liturgies were also central to the Christmas of my childhood.
Folklore and the innocent magic of children are healthy. It certainly brings back happy memories for me.
Lots of lovely food and gatherings with extended family are also such an important part of memory for me in the Christmas season.
However, Jesus was central to Christmas.
In our post-Christian society, this centrality is so often lost or at least very hidden among all the other things.
The liturgical celebrations of Advent and the whole Christmas season are so restorative so inviting into new hope and renewal of Faith and Spirituality.
It is also a time of renewing relationships, a timely reminder not to take them for granted.
I have heard some say that Christmas is mostly for children. It certainly is very important for children. However, it is also very important for those who wish to become like little children. Is this not what Jesus encouraged us to be.
Children have a sense of enchantment.
We need to keep working at regaining and maintaining a sense of mystery and enchantment.
The amazing and awesome mystery of the incarnation calls us to be more than we think that we can be. To remember that we are the son or daughter of God much deeply loved and called to be humble instruments and ministers of love and compassion to each other.
Lovers who embrace all of creation and its creator.
A little child in swaddling clothes who makes all things new!
Image credit: The Scotsman