Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

What would a good conservative want for Christmas?

I have a few nontraditional ideas that may shock you. Before I share the perfect gifts with you, let’s have a little history lesson. Although we celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ at this time of the year, we are not really sure when Jesus’ birthday is. December ironically coincides with the death of a particularly famous, pious priest on December 6, 343…St. Nicholas.

This priest was born in 280 AD, in Patara, a city of Lycia located in Asia Minor. He was called "Wonderworker" (or "Miraculous" or "Miracle-Worker") because of the miracles he performed by God’s grace.

Nicholas was a very rich person who helped people by giving gifts (including money). Who knows, he may have looked like Warren Buffet! Nicholas, who later became a bishop, did not like to be seen when he gave away presents. The children of his day were told to go to sleep early so that Nicholas would be willing to come to their house. Over time, this godly leader became known as Santa Claus.

By 450 AD many churches in Asia Minor and Greece were named after him. He was recognized as a Saint in 800 by the Eastern Catholic Church and in the 1200s Bishop Nicholas Day was celebrated in France. Some scholars believe that by the 1400s Santa Claus was the third most beloved religious figure behind Jesus and Mary. Over the years, his bishop’s cloak, jeweled gloves, crozier, and mitre were traded for the red suit and fur-trimmed hat that we see today.

As a non-Catholic, I do not believe in the active role of the saints in our everyday lives. Yet, just for fun, let’s imagine what it would be like if Santa Claus were to leave a few gifts at the leading U.S. conservative’s home. In my mind it is clear that he would leave four brightly wrapped packages – one green, one white, one red, and one blue.

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.