Listen: Paul Stevens chats to Hope Breakfast
Christmas is just around the corner – and many kids will be awaiting the arrival of the Man in the Big Red Suit.
And yet, for Christians, this figure can be somewhat divisive. While many of us ‘do’ Santa with our kids, many of us choose not to – and navigating this topic is rather difficult.
Sydney pastor and former NRL player Paul Stevens felt this topic needed addressing, rather than avoiding, and has written a picture book to help. It’s called The Boy Who Became Santa Claus, and it aims to tell the true story of Saint Nicholas.
“I discovered a few years ago, while researching a message for my church at Christmas, that Santa is actually real,” Paul told Hope Breakfast. “He’s based on the person of Nicholas, who then became Saint Nick, who then became Santa Claus, the ‘Man in Red’ that we know.”
Paul was amazed to learn that Nicholas was a generous man of faith with an incredible backstory – and he chose to put that story to paper, because he felt it added to the message of the real reason for the season, and he wanted to challenge believers.
“I wanted particularly church people [to read it] because we’ve had this challenge where… we know it’s Jesus’ birthday and also having Santa Claus involved – does it take away or dishonour that?” he said.
Saint Nicholas’s Faith in Christ
Rather than demolishing the story of Santa Claus, Paul’s book endeavours to show that as Nicholas gets his red suit, it’s all due to his faith in Christ. Nicholas grew up in the days when Christians were being persecuted, and would give his own Roman gold coins to help families, and rescued people from becoming slaves. He became a Bishop in order to help more people in the city.
Paul believes that Nicholas was one of the greatest supporters of the gospel, and his story makes for a great conversation-starter at Christmas that points people to Jesus.
“We can talk to people at the marketplace and say, ‘Did you know that Santa has a background of faith?’’’
The book also delves into Saint Nicholas’s involvement in writing the famous Nicene Creed, a statement of Christian faith, which led to the Bible being formed.
“I had a rough childhood,” says Paul, “so I’m passionate about letting children everywhere know how special they are. I’d like to inspire them through this story to do something great with their life, to believe they too can make a difference, just like Nicholas.”
The Boy Who Became Santa Claus by Paul Stevens is available now through Amazon.