My legal name is Santa Claus, and I live in North Pole, Alaska.
For more than two decades, I have been a volunteer advocate for millions of children who have been abused, neglected, exploited, abandoned, homeless, and institutionalized. Often, I support organizations and agencies that provide for the health, safety, and welfare of vulnerable children in dire straits. And, I contact state and federal legislators to persuade them to draft, sponsor, and pass legislation that improves our children's lives and future. I'm a clergyman and monk and a former Mayor Pro Tempore and Councilman of the City of North Pole, Member of the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission, and President of the North Pole Community Chamber of Commerce in Alaska.
A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF SANTA CLAUS:
My name, Santa Claus, is derived from the Dutch expression for Saint Nicholas: Sinterklaas. Nicholas was the Christian Bishop of Myra who lived in Asia Minor, where Turkey is now, during the fourth century. His parents were wealthy; and, after they died, Bishop Nicholas used their wealth to provide dowries for young women whose parents could not provide them. At that time, those dowries prevented the women from having to go into a life of prostitution.
Through the centuries, Saint Nicholas became revered as a savior of children, mariners, prisoners, and many others. He was known as the 'gift giver.' He also was known as a clergyman and monk who attended the Council of Nicaea in 325, where more than 300 fellow Bishops convened the first ecumenical council.
Bishop Nicholas fought so hard for what became the Nicene Creed that he was jailed and then released, his views having prevailed. He spoke truth to power and, although far outnumbered, stood up for what he believed, choosing to embrace love instead of fear.
The Dutch celebrated the Feast of Saint Nicholas on December 5th and 6th, as many people throughout the world still do. When the Dutch settled New Amsterdam, now New York City, they brought their traditions with them. Among them was Sinterklaas, who became Santa Claus.
His Feast was so close to the Christmas celebration, that the new Dutch settlers combined them. And, many believe that that was how Santa Claus, the gift giver, became associated with Christmas and the three Wise Men, the Magi, gift givers themselves.
Personally, as Santa Claus of North Pole, Alaska, I focus my volunteer advocacy work on helping millions of vulnerable children in dire straits. Occasionally, my view, that Christmas, sadly, has become a crass, commercial, secular spectacle in many places, results in some friction with those who epitomize the very people and policies that Jesus railed against. So be it.
I detest government policies that endanger child health, safety, and welfare, that pollute our Creator's environment, that discriminate against the weak, the poor, and the underprivileged, that fail to recognize that science, education, and religion can co-exist, that separate, rather than unite, that promote war, rather than peace, that favor pharmaceutical sales over natural remedies, that diminish compassion, and that fail to recognize that love, not fear, is the greatest power on earth.
"I wish you a lifetime filled with happiness, peace, good health, prosperity, and, most of all, love -- the greatest gift."