A man in red, with a white beard and a sack on his back. You start talking about this person to any kid and their face will light up with excitement. They will almost burst out of their skin if you ask them if they want to go and see Santa. They know they'll be able to ask for any gift in the world and believe this fat, jolly man will give it to them.
Joy, happiness and adrenaline exude from their little bodies as they have experienced the true act of generosity.
As the weeks lead up to Christmas and we celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, it seems everyone wants to be generous. Stopping in the shopping centre and donating those few coins to that charity, inviting that person over who doesn't have family or putting together a shoe box for an orphan. It’s almost easier to do because it is displayed all around us.
The act of Santa representing generosity led me to begin doing some research as to where this tradition came from. The two most famous stories are of Saint Nicholas, a man who was the fourth Century Greek Christian Bishop of Turkey. During this time lived a very poor family. The father of three daughters was considering selling them into slavery or prostitution to help make ends meet. Nicholas presented these impoverished women with money so they would not have to sell themselves. The other story was of was a man named Nicholas who secretly gave children presents and when he was found out, everyone wanted to do the same.
Where the story of this overweight and happy man evolved from, is beautiful. One person knew a family was in need and realized he could be a part of the solution, so he did something about it. And even since times have changed, generosity is what we remember.
When we look back to why the birth of Jesus happened and what we can celebrate, the true act of generosity is reflected. God gave His one Son, so we could be free and in relationship with Him. He didn't have to do this but loved us enough to come in human form and sacrifice everything.
Years after the tradition of Santa began, people are still dressing up like him and giving gifts to children. What would it look like for us to dress up like Jesus and display that true heart of generosity? Whether it’s giving to a charity, donating to a missionary or spending time with someone who gets lonely. Take some time out this Christmas and ask the Lord how you can show that generosity.
Have a blessed and restful Christmas!
Rebecca Bowie is a young Christian who is intentionally seeking after Gods heart and striving to love people with everything. Now living in Brisbane Australia, was formerly living in London, England. She's a full-time volunteer at Youth with a Mission.
Rebecca Bowie previous articles may be viewed at