What’s So Saintly about Santa Claus?

Our kids are still pretty young, so our Christmas family traditions are still gelling. One thing that has already solidified is our toning down of the Santa Claus idea. We don’t ignore it, since it’s a harmless (in our opinion…please comment if you disagree) part of our culture and a fun aspect of the season. We tell the stories, emphasizing that it’s fiction. But Jesus’ birth remains the central aspect of the holiday for us.

While wasting time when I should be doing other things, I came across this post in one of my often-read blogs, titus2talk. Because it cites no source, I have no idea if the historical information about St. Nicholas is accurate, but it sounds good to me (I am so not scholarly…isn’t that horrible?). Perhaps I should look around for more information, but this is the copy-and-paste age of anyone-with-a-computer-is-an-expert, so what’s the point?
Just kidding.

Coolest Santafact Ever: Upon further clickage, I read that this same Nicholas is rumored to have laid the smack down on Arius at Nicea in defense of the Trinity. I say rumored, because the otherwise detailed records of the Council of Nicea fail to mention Nicholas at all, let alone tell the tale of his righteous indignation. (The above picture is an artist’s rendition of Nicholas’ act of defiance.)

There’s another almost equally cool story that says how Nicholas wanted to help three young ladies marry instead of being forced into prostitution, so he heaved three sacks of gold through their open window (for their lacking dowries). The sacks landed in their stockings, which were (you guessed it) hanging by the fireplace. This tale has several versions. Some are less happy than others.

My conclusion is that we don’t really know much about this guy, except that his name was Nicholas and he lived a long time ago and did some nice things. Oh, and that his actions, attitudes, or perhaps facial expression lent themselves to great exaggeration and invention. Christianity Today published a history of this colorful character as well. It’s worth reading if you’re interested in Jolly Ole Saint Nick.

Despite all this, some of us know for sure just where Santa comes from.**

** [This link contains text from a 1987 Saturday Night Live sketch.]


1 Response to “What’s So Saintly about Santa Claus?”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    December 21, 2006 at 10:07 am

    All these seasonal thoughts and a ‘new’ avatar as well!! Its XMAS!!

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My blog. Herein read entries related to who and what is important to me. Feel free to leave comments. I feel free to delete them if I don't like them. So there. By reading about my life, readers should expect to begin to see their own lives as increasingly more organized and sophisticated, their homes cleaner and neater.

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