I always find it so amazing how the origins of some pretty amazing people stem from pain and suffering and how amazing it is that it fuels them to reach out to others. Nicholas chose to reach out to others because of a tender heart stemming from being orphaned at an early age. He used his inheritance for others, not himself. God can and will use such things to work together for his glory. Roman 8:28 And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.Unfortunately we have twisted Santa Claus into a mega money making machine in the past 100 years. However we can still choose to look back and remember and appreciate the deeds of this man and use it as an "example" to look after others and look past ourselves and our own situations and what we want. We can remember not to be selfish and to look to God to teach us what He wants us to learn through whatever trial we are going through. He is always teaching us and attempting to give us his Godly wisdom and out look if we only choose to listen and then act on his behalf. We are his hands and feet on earth.
I hope you enjoy the biography below, Merry Christmas.
Born in Patara, a land that is part of present-day Turkey, circa 280, St. Nicholas was a Christian bishop who helped the needy. After his death, the legend of his gift-giving grew. St. Nicholas transformed into the legendary character called Santa Claus, who brings Christmas presents to children around the world.
St. Nicholas was born sometime circa 280 in Patara, Lycia, an area that is part of present-day Turkey. He lost both of his parents as a young man and reportedly used his inheritance to help the poor and sick. A devout Christian, he later served as bishop of Myra, a city that is now called Demre.
There are many legends about St. Nicholas of Myra. One story tells how he helped three poor sisters. Their father did not have enough money to pay their dowries and thought of selling them into servitude. Three times, St. Nicholas secretly went to their house at night and put a bag of money inside. The man used the money so that one of his daughters could marry. On the third visit, the man saw St. Nicholas and thanked him for his kindness. He also reportedly saved three men who were falsely imprisoned and sentenced to death.
Death and Legacy
Several sources state St. Nicholas is believed to have died on December 6, 343. Over the years, stories of his miracles and work for the poor spread to other parts of the world. He became known as the protector of children and sailors and was associated with gift-giving. He was a popular saint in Europe until the time of the Reformation in the 1500s, a religious movement that led to the creation of Protestantism, which turned away from the practice of honoring saints. St. Nicholas, however, remained an important figure in Holland.
The Dutch continued to celebrate the feast day of St. Nicholas, December 6. It was a common practice for children to put out their shoes the night before. In the morning, they would discover the gifts that St. Nicholas had left there for them. Dutch immigrants brought St. Nicholas, known to them as Sint Nikolaas or by his nickname Sinter Klaas, and his gift-giving ways to America in the 1700s.
In America, St. Nicholas went through many transformations and eventually Sinter Klaas became Santa Claus. Instead of giving gifts on December 6, he became a part of the Christmas holiday. In the 1820 poem "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore, he is described as a jolly, heavy man who comes down the chimney to leave presents for deserving children and drives a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. The cartoonist Thomas Nast added to the St. Nicholas legend with an 1881 drawing of Santa as wearing a red suit with white fur trim. Once a kind, charitable Bishop, St. Nicholas had become the Santa Claus we know today.
Lets choose to remember the "real man" and the "thoughtfulness" behind this way out of control modern day Santa Claus tradition. Sense my daughter was old enough to understand we have read stories to her about the real Saint Nicholas and all he did for others in need and why we should do the same.
Lets Choose to remember and learn.