Found this…

Santa is real…
December 26, 2008, 10:40 am
Filed under: Some food for today | Tags: ,

So another Christmas has come and gone. While trawling the pages this morning I came across one by Mark Driscoll about Santa aka Saint Nicholas. You can find it here

Santa Claus is a kids thing (isn’t it) and when you grow up you find out he’s not real and is really various men trying to keep the dream alive or are getting paid to do it. Well of course I’m not here to keep the dream alive as Christmas isn’t about the fat bearded one but it comes to my surprise that Saint Nicholas was a real person. There are pieces to the puzzle that when put together put a picture together, sort of…

So who was this Saint?

  • Nicholas was born in the third century in Patara, Turkey. 
  • Born into an affluent family
  • Parents died when he was quite young. 
  • His parents had raised him to be a devout Christian, which led him to spend his great inheritance on helping the poor, especially children. 
  • He was known to frequently give gifts to children, sometimes even hanging socks filled with treats and gifts.

His most famous Act of Kindness

He helped 3 Christian sisters as they were too poor to pay for their wedding dowry. Instead of facing a life a prostitution, Saint Nic saved them by paying for their dowry.

He was a great…

Christian leader and was eventually voted the Bishop of Myra, a port city that the apostle Paul had previously visited (Acts 27:5-6). Nic also did his fair share of defending the gospel. In AD325 he journeyed to the Council of Nicea where he helped defend the deity of Christ.

Other facts:

  • He died Dec 6th 343
  • Canonized as a Saint
  • The anniversary of his death was called the St. Nicholas holiday when gifts were given in his memory
  • He remained a very popular saint among Catholic and Orthodox Christians, with some 2,000 churches named after him.

And so Christmas and Nic’s day eventually merged as they were celebrated within weeks of each other.

The Reformation Controversy

During the Reformation the Protestants didn’t approve of Nic because they thought both canonizing him and celebrating a holiday for him were wrong. 

This is what happened in certain places:

  • The holiday was celebrated in Holland (the only Protestant country), where he was known as Sinterklass
  • Martin Luther replaced him in Germany with the Christ child as the object of holiday celebration or in the native tongue Christkindl. 


Over the years the celebration of the Christ child was simplified to Kriss Kingle and funnily enough it just became another name for Santa Claus.

Santa Myths – These usually squash other stories together

The Chimney!

There was a myth that on Nic’s day a demon entered people’s homes to terrorize children and it was Nic’s job to cast it out of the home. This is why they think Santa came down chimneys (I don’t know who “they” are).

The other version originates from Siberia. A holy man (Shaman) entered people’s homes through their fire place and left mushrooms as gifts. (I find that hilarious!) According to the myth he would hand them in front of the fire to dry. But unfortunately he didn’t plan for reindeers to eat them. This is the funny part the reindeers would eat them and reportedly become intoxicated! This may have started the myth that the reindeer could fly, as it was believed that the shaman could also fly.

The merging of the stories may also explain why Santa came from the North pole (The Siberia link).

So how did this get to us?

So like the rest of the world we are influenced by America. The stories first reached the US shores by Dutch immigrants and in the early 20th century shops began having Santa Claus presents for children. Children then sent letters to the North Pole.

What do we do with this?

Well we can think if Santa came from Saint Nicholas a devout Christian then we should do what he would want. Make Christmas about the birth of Jesus.


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