Re-enchanting Christmas with St. Nicholas of Myra

The Christmas season, especially this year, can feel somewhat disenchanted and commercial. The Netflix original movie “Klaus” (2019) is an emblematic offender. It reimagines the origins of Christmas completely divorced from religion, Christian and pagan alike, and instead in the context of the post office. It isn’t irredeemable and has a certain family-fun appeal, but at its core it’s about a commercialized season bent on gifts. After all, it’s a Netflix original. 

But “Klaus” and many movies in the holiday canon reconstruct loose legends of a Catholic saint, Nicholas of Myra, Turkey, in a manner unconcerned with religious symbolism. This leaves us with a disenchanted Christmas story.

The real man behind many of the legends of the Santa Claus myth, St. Nicholas, gives shape to the Christmas spirit lost in the disenchanting versions of the holiday. And as many Christians and non-Christians around the globe come to terms with one of the most difficult holiday seasons of their lifetimes, revisiting the life of this particular saint from what is now modern Turkey may help re-enchant our disenchanted year. 

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