I don’t believe—at least in the United States—it’s been common knowledge for many years.
The advent of the surname or “last name” is relatively new.
When I say, “relatively,” I mean likely more than a thousand years old.
Even though they existed that long ago though, they were not standard practice in many places until much later.
Why do I bring this up?
Because there’s a tendency on the part of many, to treat things like titles, as names—sometimes surnames, sometimes given names.
An excellent example of this, is Jesus Christ.
Few refuse to acknowledge the existence of the “man” in question.
Many might argue against calling Him “Christ,” were they aware what the title (not name) means.
You’ll hear arguments saying otherwise, but many will agree it more or less means “anointed or chosen one.”
Technically, that title is not unique to Jesus (though in most instances in Judaism and Christianity, it would have been “Messiah” rather than “Christ”). The claim though, was a significant one.
I guess it’s pretty common for folks to look at what I have to say (particularly the early parts of a piece), and puzzle over my direction.
That may be true here, so let me put myself on a page that will make sense to you.
I’ll do that by pointing out another such person.
This one is commonly referred to as “Santa Claus.”
Funnily, the person about whom we’re speaking, is known by a series of other names. Some of them don’t readily make sense. One that does though, is “Saint Nick,” or “Saint Nicholas.”
Those who’ve read older versions of the Bible, will recognize “Saint” (and by extension “Santa”) as a title, rather than a name.
The title in this case is generally intended to mean “set apart.”
At this point, sane people are probably asking the question, “Set apart for what?”
In general, the answer would be, “for the Purposes of God.”
As a rule, when people use the word “Saint,” they’re talking about one of two things.
The first is Christians in general.
The second is as a way to point a finger at someone who’s been designated by some (almost always Christian) body as a special individual, deemed “holier than thou.”
The point here is simple.
Unless you’re willing to throw the name of the supposedly revered “Father Christmas,” away, when you talk about that individual, you’re talking about a person argued to be a “Christian Saint.”
I’ve made it plain in past articles that I’m no fan of Christmas, as it tends to be practiced in the modern day.
To me, at least one of the origins of that time, would be called, “The birth of Christ (in reference to the time of Jesus’ birth).”
That said, I think it more than a little odd, that so many are willing to “throw out Jesus,” but teach, or one might say “sell,” Santa Claus to their children.
I get wanting to use a character like Santa Claus, to “add magic to” a given season—even if I don’t agree.
I also understand wanting to use that icon, to cause children to be on their best behavior, both at Christmastime, and at other seasons as well.
That said, I find it more than a bit surprising, that so very many attempt to keep their children in that mode of belief for so very long.
This is particularly true of those who claim to not believe in God, and more importantly in Jesus called Christ.
Is it really so hard to comprehend that you’re teaching your children to believe both in something supernatural, and in someone designated a saint by some ostensibly Christian group?
You need to understand, I’m not trying to get people to abandon that mode of operation.
Rather, I’m pointing out their willingness to support something tangentially, that they won’t get behind in a more direct way.
Maybe, having let the proverbial “cat out of the bag,” those folks will “wise up,” and stop supporting Santa.
On the other hand though, it’s possible some folks will come to realize the truth (as I understand it).
That would involve coming to multiple realizations.
The first would be, that Santa “got his name by,” being proclaimed a saint by some sect of Christianity.
The second should be, that the season he supposedly represents, is actually (at least supposedly—even as a Christian, I don’t really count it so) “about” the birth of Jesus.
Again, I can see a bunch of folks with finger extended, and in front of their mouths, at least intimating I should shut my yap!
They may well think, getting people to “celebrate Christmas,” will make them more willing to accept Jesus.
For my part, you’ll forgive my disagreement.
I think it actually makes more sense to explain to them what they’re doing.
Many will discount what you say, I grant.
Others may well come to the conclusion there’s “more to this Jesus than I realized or counted true.”
Regardless, I’m not a “fan of” the idea of co-opting days that had or have nothing to do with Jesus, or Christianity, and trying to “morph them into” Christian traditions or ideas.
You can argue this is not what happened with Christmas, and to be honest, I can’t answer that for certain.
What I can tell you though, is that too many count the season in question to be nothing more or less than a time for commercialism, or even altruistic beneficence.
That’s not hard to believe, considering most serious Christians have more important things to worry about, than whether or not it’s reasonable to celebrate the birth of their Savior on that day, or even in the season.
Let’s face it, many assert they know with a certitude, when Jesus was born (even if only the season, rather than the day), I know of nobody who can prove when that actually happened.
You want to celebrate Christmas? You think it’s reasonable to glorify Santa Claus, or romanticize him in the doing of it? That’s your choice (however silly I might see it as being). For my part though, I’m more concerned about people’s exposure to Jesus, and their understanding of Him.
It’s on you to do as you see fit, that having been explained.