Beliefnet
Awake in the World

Father Christmas is not just a fiction character or someone from fantasy land. The tradition of “Babo Natale” or Father Christmas dates back centuries and started with Saint Nick. Nicholas was a bishop living in Demre, Turkey hundreds of years ago. He wore his long red bishop’s dress and was known for his beautiful works of generosity to the villagers. 

When two daughters were about to be sold into slavery because their father had no dowry and could no longer keep them, legend holds that Saint Nick, tossed two bags of coins down the chimney and they fell on the hearth. The daughters rejoiced and were married. Saint Nick was renowned for his anonymous gifts to villagers and was even believed to have brought a young boy back to life. The spirit of St. Nick lives on in Catholic countries on December 6th, St. Nick’s day. It’s celebrated by St. Nick arriving in town squares on a sleigh pulled by horses. Unlike the American version of Father Christmas, St. Nick wears a long red robe. He also sports a white beard and a bag of gifts.

Rather than tell children about a Santa Claus only to reveal to them a deception years later, why not give them the gift of a more realistic Christmas story anchored in deep history? This story still holds the value of giving gifts and of helping others. Only it is not linked with deception about a man who secretly enters the house at night and drops off gifts. The true story of Father Christmas is a way to teach true values and help children to learn to grow in an upright and honest way.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.

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