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Wednesday, December 20th | Jolly Ole Saint Nick!

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2023 6:00 am

Wednesday, December 20th | Jolly Ole Saint Nick!

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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December 20, 2023 6:00 am

In this episode of Clearview Today, Dr. Shah talks about Santa Claus and his origins. If you have kids present you may want to listen to this when they aren't around due to the subject matter and the magic of Christmas.

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Can We Recover the Original Text of the New Testament?


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A healthier, happier you is just a click away. That's it. Let's start the show.

That's right. If you guys want to help us keep the conversation going, you can do so by supporting the show. You can share it online with your friends and family.

You can leave us a good five-star review on iTunes or Spotify, anywhere you get your podcasting content from. Or you can support us by going to and using that promo code TODAY, T-O-D-A-Y, at checkout. Every single thing that you do helps us get the message of God further and further out into the airwaves. Today's verse of the day is coming to us from Colossians 3.17. It says, This is Elizabeth's favorite verse.

Really? Yeah, my wife Elizabeth. This is her favorite verse. She loves Colossians chapter 3, but especially verse 17 because it's a reminder of the motivation. It's a reminder to check, you know, your motivations and your work ethic behind things. You know, a lot of times we can just kind of write things off, oh, this doesn't matter, oh, this doesn't pertain to my relationship with God, or this doesn't pertain to my faith. No, everything, everything that we do should be done as if we are doing it for the Lord. And if you come across something that you cannot do unto the Lord, like something sinful or something, you know, that disobeys God's word, then that's an opportunity for you to be like, oh, let me pump the brakes here.

This is not something I should be engaged in. This is something where it also sort of gives you permission where a Christian, especially a young Christian who has just come into knowing the Lord, they want to do something with their life that honors the Lord, so they think, I need to go into the ministry. I need to go into the church. I need to become a pastor. I've got to be a missionary.

I've got to go overseas. Right, right. And it gives you this verse, I mean, not that it gives you permission, but it should free you up to say, I can do whatever I want to do as long as it honors God. If I want to become a chef at a restaurant, I can do that to the glory of God. If I want to become an artist, I can do that to the glory of God.

And kind of like you said, the things that you can't in your conscience glorify God, that's a great marker to say I'm straying too far from where God wants me to go in my life. Right. Exactly. We had somebody write in.

Can I read the write-in? Absolutely. With it being, what are we on now, Christmas the 20th? This is Christmas the 20th, of course. Christmas the 20th, everybody.

Yes, the 20th, the day of Christmas. I said that the other day to somebody. I was like, I was like, happy Christmas, the whatever day it was. And they were like, what?

They were like, I don't, I don't play that. Are you a crazy person? And I said, yes, I am. This comes from Travis M. I just caught that very nice.

Yes, I am. Travis M, what's the best thing Santa ever brought you? Santa Claus. So this is give specifically from Santa. From Santa, yeah, yeah. I think my, I've said this, I think I said this last week, I think my chair, I think my arm chair at my house, that was a Santa gift. Nice. Yeah, Santa brought that, that gift down the chimney with care. And then I sat my behind in the chair. Very nice. I just love that chair.

Smooth rhyme. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love that chair. I've had it for, ever since I've been married. I think I got it the year we got married in 2015.

It's 2023 now, so eight years. Nice. Yeah.

What about you? I think for me it was a childhood gift. This was a real wow factor gift. Santa brought my sister and I a trampoline. Yeah, that's always fun. That was pretty amazing to go out Christmas morning and have like a note underneath the tree, like go check outside, and we're like, what in the world?

Yeah. So we walked out in the backyard and there's a trampoline, surprise. And we, I mean, we spent all of Christmas Day out there on the trampoline.

Oh yeah. Those are fun days where you get to not only like get that big Santa gift where it's like somehow in a kid's mind, it just makes sense to where mom and dad could not have possibly got this at the house. Only the magic of Santa Claus could have brought me this trampoline. Santa Claus is bringing my son a swing set this year. We're actually going to be talking about Santa a lot on today's episode, so we do want to sort of, before we go into the break, we do want to kind of forewarn you guys, if you are listening with children, we're going to be going in depth into all that magic that goes on at the North Pole, right?

All that stuff that Santa does for us and for our young ones. So maybe, maybe this is an episode that you listen to later if there's little kids around. Hopefully you understand the subtext of what I'm saying to you right now. So parents, we're going to leave that up to your Christmas discretion, but just so you have that warning ahead, we are going to be talking a lot about Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, and all that goes into that on today's episode. That's right. So listen responsibly. Yes, yes, listen responsibly because I don't want you to be, I don't want the kids to get a peek behind that magical curtain and see what's really happening up there at the North Pole because part of the wonder and the mystery, kids, part of the wonder and the mystery is letting Santa do his thing. That's right. And you know what's funny? A lot of Christians don't know how to feel about Santa. Yeah. A lot of Christians are like, I want Jesus to have his day. I don't want to share it with some big rotund, rosy-cheeked, bearded man who flies across the sky.

A lot of adjectives and rapid succession. And commits several million B&Es every single night. How do we need to feel about Santa Claus? We're Christians, right?

Shouldn't we, shouldn't we reject this, this festive notion? Yeah, we're going to talk about it on today's episode, so make sure you stay tuned. If this has been a struggle for you, we're going to answer those questions for you. Write in and let us know.

2-5-2-5-8-2-5-0-2-8. Visit us online at We're going to grab Dr. Shaw.

I'll be right back. Hey, what's going on, listeners? My name is Jon.

And I'm Ellie. And we just want to take a second and let you know about Dr. Shaw's new book on the market right now called Can We Recover the Original Text of the New Testament. Boy, that is a long title. True, but it's a very simple message. The original text of the New Testament is not only attainable, but there are lots of different ways that scholars go about discovering it. There's a lot of people out there saying that the original text is lost forever or that it's hopeless to actually try to find it or that there's many texts of the New Testament. But alongside Dr. David Allen Black, Dr. Shaw has actually compiled papers from some of the world's leading experts in textual criticism, including one written by himself on various methodologies for extracting the original text. And listen, if you're interested in textual criticism, this book is a great introduction to the field. You can pick up your copy on Amazon or you can buy it from our church website.

That's We're going to leave a link in the description box so you can get your copy today. Love that. Ellie, let's hop back in. Let's do it. Everybody recording?

Everybody ready? This is for Wednesday, December the 20th. Welcome back to Clear View Today with Dr. Abbadon Shaw, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at

Or if you have any questions or suggestions for new topics, send us a text to 252-582-5028. We are officially five days away from Christmas, gentlemen. It's Christmas the 20th.

Never thought I'd see the day. Christmas the 20th. Christmas the 20th. Good to see you this Wednesday. Merry Christmas the 20th.

We are here live in the Clear View Today studio with Dr. Abbadon Shaw, who is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism. Dr. Shaw, inquiring minds want to know, what is the greatest thing that Santa has ever brought you? Oh my goodness.

Wow. I hear there's sleigh bells in there. That being said, I will say that we did put the Santa warning out. We are free to speak as adults at this point.

Do you guys do a difference between parents gifts and Santa gifts? No, we don't. We never have. But we always have fun with the kids pretending Santa. Gotcha. Never was like, ah, no, you know, that's not real.

We never did that. It's like, let them enjoy. But soon enough they know, okay, this is not real. Well, I guess what you mean is like, what I meant was like, do you do like, hey, these gifts are from us. These are Santa's gifts over here, but these ones are from mom and dad.

Or is it they're everything on Christmas is just there. Enjoy, kids. Gotcha.

That's how we grew up as well. Yeah. Enjoy.

And then somewhere we kind of leave it. Oh, somebody who knows. Yeah.

Hope you enjoy it. Yeah. Yeah. My favorite, I would say, would go back to 1993, December, as I'm standing in that telephone booth. You know, life has taken a downward spiral.

Everything has fallen apart in my life. And I'm standing in that telephone booth, many of you all know that story, somewhere on this side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and giving my life to the Lord. I mean, I've already saved.

At the time I was already a Christian, but dedicating my life to God and God gave me that gift and said, yes, I will use you. And I think that was the best Christmas gift. Amen. Wow. I love it. I think. I think that's a gift that Christ himself gave. He made Santa scoot over just a little bit and said, this one's coming for me.

Step aside, buddy. He put his name in big, bold letters. So no one can mistake this is who it came from. That's right.

It was a joining point of my life. That's right. Well, that is what we're talking about on today's episode. You know, we said this up top, but we're talking about Santa Claus today and how we as Christians should think and feel about Santa. Is it okay? Is it not okay?

What should we do with our kids? You know, like, this is something that we've had to, as parents, we had to wrestle with. Like, are we going to do this?

Is this a road we're going to want to go down? And I appreciate so much our conversations, Dr. Shaw, about, you know, who Santa really is and how we as Christians should approach this topic. Yeah, because yesterday we talked about that, how people will always say we got. Christmas is just a hodgepodge of pagan traditions.

And then Christians just kind of slapped their pretty red bow on it and called it theirs. But we looked at that yesterday. That's not true. They each have Christian roots. But Santa is such a big one that we felt like it kind of deserved its own episode. Right. Santa Claus was actually a pastor.

And he pastored a church in a place called Myra. And I went there. Yeah. I was just about to say you and Nicole were able to actually visit Myra.

Absolutely. What was that like? It was quite awesome. And I walked around that church. Some parts of that church were built later on. But just to be walking around and know that this man that everybody either loves or hates was actually just a pastor of a church here.

And then I also got a chance to go to his hometown, Patara, not very far, and to be there and to know that this man came from just this place here. If any of the Christian traditions have Christian roots, Christmas traditions have Christian roots, it's Santa Claus. Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Absolutely. Going back to 280 AD. So this is before the Council of Nicaea. This is before even the freedom that came in the Roman Empire with the coming of Constantine and others. There was this couple, elderly couple, that had a child named and they named him Nicholas.

This was in Patara, Asia Minor. And unfortunately, his parents died in a plague and he inherited a large amount of wealth. So he was very generous with his wealth. He gave it away to the poor.

And so right from the get go, there is a sense of this generosity, this willingness to help people that was always part of his mindset, his life. And so one very important incident that we know about, a very kind of a big incident, was in his time, there was a merchant who had gone bankrupt. And people were getting ready to take away his home, his property, but also his children. And he had three daughters. And he knew that if somebody didn't come through, they would be taken away and maybe become indentured servants or slaves or whatever it is. And he thought about marrying them off.

Let me marry these girls off and so the creditors will get off my back. But he didn't have any money for dowry. And so, Nicholas actually took a bag of money and threw it into the window so that man could have some money. I don't know why, but I just imagine he didn't open the window first, just shat us right through the glass. But then he opened it up as money. He was like, I want to throw money through the window. And he did that three times for the first, second, and third daughter. And then he ran away and the father ran out, caught him, and Nicholas made him promise, hey, don't tell anybody that I did that. Give the credit to God.

Just the way we do it here. It's not about us. It's about God. It's about Jesus Christ.

It's not us. So after his death, which was December the 6th, 343 AD, this became a tradition to give gifts or at midnight to hang stockings and all that kind of stuff by the fireplace. All this began. So over time, did that just, because I know on Christmas Day, we want to talk about the 25th being the date of Christ's birth.

Do you think the December 6th holiday and then December 25th, over time? Surah came together. Yeah, you're right. You're right.

Yeah. It's one of those things where you see this historical account that kind of becomes legend and it influences us even today. Well, and you can see, even in this discussion, you can see where the legend kind of formed around bringing gifts and Santa comes and gives you these gifts, but you don't ever see him give you the gifts because he's throwing the money through the window. But even at the bedrock of that legend of Santa Claus, I mean, sort of the mythology that has been created around him is the core principle of generosity, of giving to people who are maybe less fortunate or those that you love and care about. And that's not a worldly value. That's a Christian value.

You grew up in a, just for anyone who's maybe listening to the show for the first time or just tuning in on the radio, Dr. Shah, you grew up in India. And so you were very exposed to Eastern religions and traditions. And I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but none of them really have generosity as a core doctrine. I'm not saying there are not generous people out there. There are people who are generous, but the idea that we are to do this for other people, even those people who may not like us, even if people don't love us for doing this or even are grateful, you still do it because that is the right thing to do. That idea is very much rooted in Christianity.

I would say in the Judeo-Christian foundation. Go in the Old Testament, you see that repeatedly talks about taking care of the widows, the orphans, and the foreigner. I mean, you read that passage. I mean, why would you care about the foreigner? He shouldn't be here anyways. But widows, orphans, and the foreigner who is in your land.

Remember, you were a foreigner somewhere else. That's a good point. Yeah, that's what God says to them. And then you see that again reflected throughout the Old Testament.

You read the book of Ruth and you find how they were supposed to leave certain amount of sheaves, not sheeps, but sheaves of grain on the ground for those who were coming behind them. And then, you know, getting to the New Testament, of course, you see Jesus talking about generosity and the Good Samaritan and all that. So I think this is something that we can all agree on is that Christians don't have to feel any guilt in participating in the Santa Claus story with their kids.

And in fact, it should be celebrated as a uniquely Christian thing. Especially because he was a pastor and he didn't immediately become pastor. He actually gave away all his wealth, went on a pilgrimage, went to Israel and all that stuff. Remember, he's in Asia Minor, which is Turkey.

He did not grow up in Israel. When he came back to Myra, that's when the bishop had passed away and the leaders had a dream. And in that dream, Nicholas was supposed to be the next bishop. Bishop really means overseer, pastor of this church. And he said, no, I don't think I want to do that because Roman emperors were killing bishops. So it's like, come on position at that point. I feel like you'd be good at it, Nick.

But that means I'm going to die in a month or so. No. But then he reluctantly accepted the position of bishop. And of course, he was arrested under Diocletian's persecution. And of course, there were many persecutions that came through at the time, but Diocletian's was the worst. And so this was the time period where he was arrested.

So yeah, hopefully that helps. Put him in perspective that he is not just jolly old Saint Nick. He was a pastor who was persecuted for his faith. Now, I have a question because there's a meme that starts to circulate around this time as well. It's of Saint Nicholas who is punching heretics in the face.

A little bit on the violence side. It became a thing where I remember when I was in youth group, there was a thing, it was like a fun fact that nobody really knew until the point now where it's like a meme that goes around like, let's not forget that Santa literally punched a guy for having bad theology. Yeah, it's a picture of Saint Nicholas. It's one of those old oil paintings.

And he's like slugging a dude right in the face. And it says, I'm here to hand out presents and punch heretics and I'm all out of presents. Yeah, yeah. I guess that's my question, Dr. Shaw.

As a Christian, we want to know, and inquiring minds are asking, can we punch heretics? So the story goes like this. He's in prison until Constantine comes to the throne. And of course, when he comes to the throne, of course, you know the whole story.

How much is legend? How much is true? I believe there's a lot of truth to it where he had the sign of the Cairo telling him by this he will conquer. And of course, he changes overnight and becomes a Christian and lets out all these people who are sitting in prison. And now that Christianity is the faith, he begins to preach. He begins to preach against immorality. He begins to preach against false doctrine. And definitely he preaches against a heresy called Arianism.

And this is where we come to the story you just talked about. In 325 AD, Constantine ordered all the bishops to come together in Nicaea. I've been near there and they were going to discuss all the deity, the humanity of Christ and all that stuff. And Arius made his case and Saint Nicholas, who was probably Pastor Nicholas, was so upset that he reached out and he slapped or maybe slugged Arius.

Nice. So, he's like, see, I'm thinking about the, I was going to try to, I was trying to set up a joke where, what was that Saint Patrick's Day thing where the Saint Patrick is talking about the Trinity and the little farm folk are like, we're just simple farm folk. And he's like, the Holy Spirit is like ice, but then sometimes it's like water. He's like, that's mortalism, Patrick. I'm just seeing Saint Nicholas in that council just being like, oh, no, you didn't. Oh.

He said, have a holly jolly Christmas with his haymaker. It's funny, but think about how passionately he loved the Lord. And that's something that I think you... He stood for doctrine. Yeah.

That's one thing I really respect and admire about you. Not that you slug people in the face who have bad theology, but that doctrine matters to me and I'm not going to agree to disagree on this. Right. I'm not, we're not looking the other way. We're not compromising. Some things we can just say, hey, listen, I think we don't see eye to eye. Other things like the doctrine of who Christ is, if we're truly going to say, hey, we're worshiping the same God, then we better make sure we're worshiping the same God.

And I'm not looking the other way on matters of doctrine. Yeah. Well, there's too much at stake. Yeah. There's too much riding on this.

I mean, people's our eternities are on the line and it's not something to play around with. That's right. But continuing with Nicholas or Saint Nicholas, he became very well known because of his heart for people. He stood up for people who were being falsely executed. He, he went and prayed at the docks because some of the fishermen were caught in a storm. So he became the patron saint of sailors. A lot of these kinds of things he did and it really, he became very prominent in the life of the church. And after he passed away, this is in 343 AD, the church in Myra was sort of constructed.

It was sort of there, but then it was, it was built up and he became the patron saint of Russia. And of course, you know, we know him today, so very, very important in the life of the church. Yeah. Yeah. It's one of those things I think about, like think of all the stuff this guy did and all of the care and the joy and the prayer that he exhibited for other people.

And he is one of the most recognized icons of Western culture. Yeah. And it's one of those things that I've been, the more we talk on this radio show, the more I think about that, we think that, okay, the canon of scripture is closed. God is done working, but God is working and moving and in all of these different people's lives.

And then I think, what could we do that thousands of years from now, people look at us on the Clearview Today Show or you listening to the Clearview Today Show, what could you be doing that other people will catch on copy and make, not make you into an icon in the sense that that's the goal, but learn from your example. That's right. Well, you know, with the coming of Islam, Islam began to conquer and move towards the West in the 10th century and they came towards Myra. And one of the goals they had was to destroy any artifact or anything claiming to be of the saints. And of course, they had his relics there or his bones in Myra. So they had to quickly get them out of there and move them to Italy to a place called Bari. That's why sometimes you hear Saint Nicholas of Myra or Saint Nicholas of Patara or Saint Nicholas of Bari.

So how did they become Bari? A lot of people say, you see, see, this is all made up stuff. Anybody can claim a saint. No, they moved his relics there to protect them. Now, I'm not for relics.

I don't believe we need to keep anybody's bones there and go burn candles to that. But you see why they were doing that. They were like, we got to preserve this tradition. And then foolish people begin to, you know, pray to those relics. And that's that's dumb.

But that's the reason behind moving all the stuff to Bari. So that went on. And of course, big question is, how did Saint Nicholas become Santa Claus? I mean, that's what that's what we're about.

Yeah. So with with the coming of Christianity, with the coming of Christianity in Europe, people began to love gift giving because this is part of what we do. The greatest gift has been given. So now we give gifts. So who better to look back to who was also a gift giver? This saint named Nicholas. So he is the one who gives the gifts. So from there, it kind of evolved.

That's awesome. And so then over time, as they do, it just tends to pick up more and more fantastical elements like the flying reindeer, the sleigh. OK, so so, you know, Jesus coming coming on a white horse, riding on a white horse somewhere from there. We got to get Santa Saint Nicholas on a horse. But where you are, there are no horses, but they are reindeer. So he can ride a reindeer instead of a horse.

Yeah. So he comes riding through the clouds. But now we have somewhere garbled up the tradition and it's Saint Nicholas flying across the sky.

You see how how the story is kind of evolving in a not a good sort of way. And the Bible talks about the angels with him. Well, we don't have angels. We do have elves. Yeah.

So the elves come into the picture. So and then, of course, a lot of things like that just kind of got all all garbled up. Right.

Yeah. Even if the story gets a little bit messed up or a little bit garbled from time to time, it does still have its roots in in in Judeo-Christian principles and Christian values. So the list he keeps, you know, people have a problem with that is like, how does he have a list? Well, again, it's going back to the Book of Revelation.

There's a Lamb's Book of Life and all names are in there. And so somehow that got transferred to Santa's list. So in Holland, there was that tradition where where these this list was there and Saint Nicholas had the list. And all the good children got these toys and all the naughty children were taken away. Get ready for this. This is bad.

By this Moorish looking person named Zwarte Piet, who would put naughty children into these bags and take him with him to sell them in slavery to the Muslims. Nice. That's what it needs to be. That's what I'm going to tell my son.

That's right now. That's much more hard hitting than a lump of coal. Yeah. Right now he's getting coal and switches and he's like, you know what? I'm going to sell you into slavery.

Yeah, exactly. I'm gonna put you in a sack and you're going away from here. The Krampus is coming.

It's going to be sold into Muslim slavery. So all these things have been twisted and and lumped together. And now we have Santa Claus. And with the with.

What is that? It was the night. Twas the night before Christmas. Who was that?

Who wrote that? Oh, Clement Moor. Yeah.

Yeah. So he he writes this story for his children. Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there. When, what to my wondering, eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeers. Did you notice that? It's not big. It's tiny. Yeah. A little small, the rain.

Yeah. With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick. Did you know that he was supposed to be small?

No, I didn't. So up to the housetop, the courses they flew with the sleigh full of toys and Saint Nicholas, too. As I drew in my head and what and was turning around down the chimney, Saint Nicholas came with a bound. So he is to be he has to be small to come. Yeah. He was trying to work that out for years. Originally, he was just small.

Yeah. He was a chubby and plumper, right? Jolly old elf.

And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself. So it was supposed to be this small little elf. But then with the coming of Coca-Cola, we cannot have a small little elf running around. We've got to have jolly old.

No way that Coca-Cola is responsible for our modern understanding of Saint Nicholas. Here we go. Write in and let us know if today was helpful in your understanding of who Saint Nicholas was and your understanding of Santa Claus and how it relates to Christmas.

2-5-2-5-8-2-5-0-2-8. Or you can visit us online at Don't forget, you can partner with us financially on that same website. Scroll to the bottom, click donate now and become part of our Clearview Today Show family. Also, I want to encourage you to go over and visit Use that promo code today, that's T-O-D-A-Y, for a great discount on your purchase.

And all of those, a portion of those proceeds go right back to the Clearview Today Show. John, what's coming up on tomorrow's episode? It's going to take a small break from Christmas. And when I say small, I do mean small. About that big. It might even, it may have some Christmas over undertones as well.

Dr. Shot can let us know because we're talking about the pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock on December the 21st. The pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. We're going to talk about it a little bit more on tomorrow's episode. Very nice. Love you guys. We'll see you tomorrow on Clearview Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-20 08:15:30 / 2023-12-20 08:28:54 / 13

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