My nomination for the most obvious lyric ever written is awarded to the Beach Boys. In their tune “Little Saint Nick” the boys let us know this incredibly helpful piece of information.
Christmas comes this time each year!
(To be faithful to the text I will show it in context)
It's the little Saint Nick
Ooooo, little Saint Nick
It's the little Saint Nick
Ooooo, little Saint Nick
Merry Christmas Saint Nick
Christmas comes this time each year
So if the Christmas holiday has been sneaking up on you perhaps you haven’t noticed that Christmas comes at this time every single year! Thanks to the Beach Boys for that amazing insight.
But when I did a little research on the original Saint Nick I found out that perhaps the song lyrics should have included a reference to his other side. Slap Nick. First, a little background on his “saint” side. The fourth-century bishop of Myra (present-day Turkey) was the role model for our present day Santa Clause. Saint Nicholas is said to have saved a poor family's daughters from slavery by tossing some gold through the window that landed, according to legend, in stockings that had been hung up to dry. From that trick shot came the custom of hanging up stockings for St. Nicholas (and now Santa) to fill.
But what about Smackdown Nick? It seems that old Saint Nick was generous and kind to children but more than a little feisty when it came to his beliefs. Gene Edward Veith wrote this in World Magazine :
“During the Council of Nicea, jolly old St. Nicholas got so fed up with Arius, who taught that Jesus was just a man, that he walked up and slapped him! That unbishoplike behavior got him in trouble. The council almost stripped him of his office, but Nicholas said he was sorry, so he was forgiven. The point is, the original Santa Claus was someone who flew off the handle when he heard someone minimizing Christ. Perhaps we can battle our culture's increasingly Christ-less Christmas by enlisting Santa in his original cause. The poor girls' stockings have become part of our Christmas imagery. So should the St. Nicholas slap.”
Mr. Veith goes on to describe how the new Santa “Enforcer Clause” might look.
“This addition to his job description will keep Santa busy. Teachers who forbid the singing of religious Christmas carols—SLAP! Office managers who erect Holiday Trees—SLAP! Judges who outlaw manger displays—SLAP! The Santas should also roam the shopping aisles, and if they hear any clerks wish their customers a mere "Happy Holiday," give them a slap.”
Veith is not advocating violence…just a gentle little tap on their intolerant noggins. So if this catches on we can look forward to some new Christmas classics. “I Saw Santa Slapping Heretics” sung to the tune of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” or maybe “Jingle Bell Slap” sung to the tune of “Jingle Bell Rock”. How about Bing Crosby’s classic slightly modified to Santa’s new image?
Slappy holiday, Slappy holiday
While your ears might keep ringing
May you now know what to do
I am not sure I agree with all of Veith’s reasons for Santa to give a gentle Christmas smack. Perhaps I would slap lawyers who put the fear of a Supreme Being into the hearts of teachers. I suspect that few teachers left to their own accord would ban the singing of Christmas songs. How about slapping fearful leaders who dictate calling the display a “holiday tree” on the federal holiday called CHRISTMAS! I would suggest that Santa work year around and slap any judge who makes law instead of interprets law. Instead of slapping clerks who say “Happy Holidays” I would prefer that Santa slap the corporate officers that order what the poor clerks can say.
I was raised in legalism and saved by grace. Would it be ungraceful to suggest that Santa slap Christians who don’t show grace to those who who don’t agree with them? When I read that Christians are slipping into the judgment robes I become like the shepherds on that Christmas night.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. (Luke 2, KJV)
After nearly dying of spiritual thirst from legalism I do get “sore afraid” when we, the very representatives of Jesus, fail to offer grace to those who have not experienced it. Forgive me if you disagree. There is a solid Biblical basis for that forgiveness (No doubt some will suggest that I should get slapped for quoting from The King James Version and the The Message in the same post).
If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. (Galatians 6, The Message)
Merry Christmas and a Slappy New Year!
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.
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