Good old Santa
Some say that there’s too much Santa in Christmas. In the sense that Santa has become very commercial, I think they’re right. But I like to believe there’s a bit more to jolly old St. Nick than the shopping malls would have us believe.
The character of Santa Claus is copied from the life of a real person, a saint named Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was a Christian saint — and he was very REAL. He was the bishop of a city named Myra in Turkey in the early part of the fourth century.
The most common story told about St. Nicholas has to do with three young sisters who were very poor. Their parents were so poor that they did not have enough money for the daughters to get married. Every young girl needed money to pay for the wedding and to set up house for themselves. Nicholas heard about this family and wanted to help them, but he did not want anyone to know that he was the one who was helping them.
Saint Nicholas climbed up on their roof three nights in a row and threw gold coins down their chimney so that they would land in the girls’ stockings, which had been hung by the fire to dry. After two of his daughters had been able to marry because of the money mysteriously appearing in their stockings, the father was determined to find out who was helping them, so he hid behind the chimney the next night.
When he was discovered, Bishop Nicholas asked the father not to tell anyone else, but the father wanted everyone to know what a good and generous man the Bishop Nicholas was, so he told everyone he knew. That is how we have the story and the tradition of stocking full of gifts today.
Santa’s about giving, hope and faith. Keep him that way in your household and he just may begin to grow on you. [NT]