There was once a young marine on the front lines during WWII. His platoon ran out of ammunition and this marine managed to get ahold of a jeep, fill it with ammunition, and drive it back to his platoon. He was shot as he finished this brave act. He was wounded so badly that he was placed with the dead and his parents even got a telegram informing them of his death. But he was not dead and recovered to go on to raise a large family and practice his Catholic faith every day. His name was Richard Bertoni.
By the time I knew him, he was older and already had a long white beard and eyes that twinkled merrily. Each year at the children's Christmas Mass, at the very end of the communion line, Mr. Bertoni, dressed as an incredibly believable Santa, came forward to receive communion. There was no 'ho ho ho' or silliness. Just humble reverence. Other than a few excited whispers from children, a hush would fall on the congregation as the choir sang 'Silent Night'. He would receive our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and then kneel and pray before the Child in the manger at the side altar.
Surely this is what St. Nicholas would have wanted to happen with his legend. That our gaze would be drawn to the Holy Infant. Mr. Bertoni did that.
He died last week. He was a very good man. In your charity please pray for the soul of Richard Bertoni and perhaps he will be able to spend Christmas with the Holy Infant he loved so much.