Saint Nicholas is real.
Yes, he is.
YES. He IS!
At least, he was. About 17 centuries ago. Dude, the legend is old. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Some elements have been altered from time to time and culture to culture; bringing us to what we now know as the Big Jolly Man in the Red Suit who comes around December 25th each year.
That’s Saint Nicholas! Well, sort of…
Saint Nicholas was born in Asia Minor, in what is now the area of Turkey. He became a Greek Bishop and was very well liked. His parents were Christian, and he adopted their beliefs and lifestyle at a very young age. Unfortunately, his parents died in an epidemic and young Nicholas was sent to live with his uncle, also Nicholas, who was at that time the Bishop of Patara. The elder Nicholas educated the younger in reading and the Church.
Saint Nicholas’ generosity is told and retold in stories that have him giving money to a poor man so his three daughters could each have a dowry and therefore be able to marry instead of supporting themselves through prostitution. One recounting portrays Nicholas secretly tossing bags of coins down the chimney at night, where one inadvertently caught in one of the stockings the girls had hung to dry. This is the origin of today’s Christmas stocking.
Other stories retell the great miracles of Saint Nicholas: how he resurrected three young boys after their murder; and how he convinced a ship’s crew to donate part of their wheat load to the impoverished city but after, when the wheat still on ship was weighed as payment to the Emporer, they had not lost any.
The celebration of Saint Nicholas’ Feast Day is celebrated by Christians on various days throughout the world. Some choose Christmas Day (December 25). Others prefer the Orthodox celebration of January 6. Still other countries have a three-day celebration in mid-May.
The transformation of Saint Nicholas into our modern day Santa Claus took several centuries; and even now it is easy to distinguish the two personalities.
There are many, many wonderful stories of the origins of Saint Nicholas; too many to repeat.
Whoever drops down your chimney this year, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!