Who is Santa Claus? Part 3: Dead but alive
If you’ve read my previous two blogs it will have become clear that Santa lived a full, radical, transformative, and history shaping life. But it didn’t stop there… the flow of God’s miracle power didn’t stop with his death. For example it is widely known that his grave excreted an oily substance known as the manna of Saint Nicolas. When the “manna” would get on a sick person they would be healed. This happened for many years after his death along with many other amazing demonstrations of kingdom power.
In around the year 1000ad the Catholic Church decided to publicly honor and acknowledge the heroic saints of the past. Santa was one of the saints that the church decided to honor and remember. Santa’s gravesite had been a popular pilgrimage site for Christians since his death (especially with the word spreading of the oily manna) but with the public acknowledgment and honoring of his amazing life, his grave became a point of covetous behavior.
Amidst the chaos of this covetous behavior the city of Beri in Italy stole Santa’s grave sight and took it along with the small bottle of his 700-year-old remains! As a result he is now also known as the bishop of Beri. For over a week as the saints remains where exhibited in one of Beri’s open squares. Hundreds of miracles occurred as people from all around visited the remains of St Nicolas. Here is a historical account of just the first day of exhibition to give you an idea of what happened.
“Invalids possessed of all kinds of illnesses, who had flocked from all parts of the city, were restored to health when in deep devotion they rested beside the body in the monastery. Among them that night and on Monday, forty-seven people of both sexes and differing ages: among these a very noble Barian and an armenius [pauper?] with his whole left side withered, three lunatics and a deaf and dumb man, two cripples, two humpbacked children, three blind, a man of Pisan blood with withered arm and hand and clubbed feet. There were others, too numerous to list here.” (by Nicephorus, who wrote the earliest account, thought to have been written within a week of the saint's arrival in Bari, the 9th of May 1087, Vatican MS. lat. 5074, fos, 5v - 10v)
Santa not only led an amazing life on earth but even in his death the Kingdom has been released in radical power!
We can learn allot from Santa’s life. In summary there are 3 aspects of his life that stand out and inspire me the most: (1) The way He walked closely with God in faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit, (2) the way he laid down his life for the people God had given him responsibility for and the fruit that came out of this, and lastly (3) his radical generosity. Santa is known and remembered for his generosity. Not only that but his life has inspired generosity in multiple others for hundreds and hundreds of years after his death, and still does today! This is definitely one of the most fruit bearing, and outstanding attributes of his life.
Santa was one of many that has followed in the footsteps of Christ pioneering a strong, supernatural, true love and freedom for mankind. He was a true apostolic man establishing the government of God’s Kingdom. Everywhere he went peace and freedom for his people was the result (at least as far as the accounts of his life reveals). He was a pioneer of the gospel we freely enjoy today.
His life has deeply inspired me in so many ways. Santa is an example to me of someone that genuinely brought transformation to a city and brought the world into a greater consciousness of the power, presence, and love of God. Let his life inspire you to live generously and make the world around you a better place this Christmas.