The Tuesday feature of the Worldly Saints is all about reading. The post is meant to share some of my reflections from the latest book or magazine article or blog post I have or am reading. At times, I may post a book blurb (a wannabe book review) or recommend books to be read by others.
The character of St. Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) has it’s fair share of embellishments. But before you right him off as someone to avoid and not recognize this time of year, consider the list below of little know facts about this Turkish saint.
- His name was Nicholas of Myra and he was a bishop (or pastor) who lived in the 4th century B.C. The name “Santa Claus” seemed to be a derivative of the name “Sinter Klaas”, which was what Dutch sailors called him.
- St. Nicholas was imprisoned under the persecution(s) of Diocletian and Maximian. He was later honored for keeping the faith during that trial.
- He was born into a wealthy family with Christian parents named Epiphanius and Johanna. After his parents died at a young age, he went to live with his uncle who was a priest. St. Nicholas eventually gave his fortune away.
- One story has been told of how St. Nicholas brought three bags of gold and lowered them into the window of a home where 3 young girls were about to be forced into prostitution because their family was so poor. Some parts of the world still place three gold balls outside of their homes or businesses in honor of this event. This story is how the legend of how Santa sneaks into homes at night to deliver presents began.
- St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children, sailors, single girls, merchants, thieves who have repented and pawnbrokers.
- At the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, St. Nicholas was in attendance. After listening to Arius present his heretical views about Jesus not being equal to the Father, St. Nicholas angrily walked up to Arius and punched him in the face! Later Arius was condemned as a heretic. St. Nicholas loved the Lord Jesus Christ.
So if your kids ask you this year, “Does Santa Claus exist?”, you could say, “He does.” And then share with them the truth and not the myth.
To read more about this Saint, check out The True Saint Nicholas by William J. Bennett.