Teach your children the truth, not the lie!After reading this Christian parents, you have absolutely no excuse for lying to your children about the lie, which is an evil combination of pagan mythology and American capitalism (i.e. Coca-Cola and department stores) plus the obvious fact that this world much prefers to talk about Santa Claus and other works-based pagan “the spirit of giving” nonsense than about Jesus Christ. Well, the REAL Nicholas was a man who began preaching about Jesus Christ at a young age and suffered mightily for the gospel. Now even this recounting is not totally free of pagan Catholic myth (though not some of the worst pagan nonsense that was developed around this preacher is in here) but the truth of a man who lived and suffered for the gospel of Jesus Christ is still here. Folks, “Santa Claus” is the main reason why Christmas is much more significant in the west than is Easter, a holiday which is much harder to separate from the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Lots of people think St. Nicholas is just another name for Santa Claus.
After all, Santa also is called “Father Christmas” and “Kris Kringle” and other names. Actually, “Santa Claus” is itself a mispronunciation of the Dutch name “SinterKlass,” which was their way of saying St. Nicholas.
But behind all the names is a boy who actually lived in what was then Lycia in the fourth century A.D., about 1,700 years ago. His name was Nicholas. There are many legends about this boy and the man he became, and behind those legends is the story of St. Nicholas.
When Nicholas was a little boy, a plague struck Patara, the town where he lived. Both his parents got sick and died, so Nicholas went to live with his uncle who was a monk in a monastery. His uncle, the abbot, taught him all about God and Jesus from the Bible. Nicholas wanted to become a monk when he grew up.
Nicholas’ parents were wealthy when they died and monks are supposed to be poor. So Nicholas resolved to give away all his money to help those who were needy, especially other children in trouble. He determined to be sneaky, so they would not know from where the money came. For example, a man was selling rugs to pay his debts. His wife and children had no food. Nicholas bought some Turkish rugs from the man, paying him much more than they were worth. Then, making an excuse, he gave the rugs back to the man’s wife.
The most famous story about his generosity involves three girls who could not get married because their father had lost all of his money and could not pay their dowry. The only option for these girls was slavery or, worse, prostitution. Nicholas heard about that and came up with a plan.
When the first daughter was ready to marry, he tossed a stocking full of gold coins through her bedroom window late at night. Using that as her dowry, she was able to marry. Soon after that, Nicholas tossed a sock full of money through the second daughter’s window. She, too, married.
But when Nicholas crept up to the house with a third sock full of money for the youngest daughter, he found all of the windows shut. So he climbed up on the roof of the house and dropped it down the chimney.
It landed in a stocking that had been hung on the fireplace to dry, giving us the tradition of hanging Christmas stockings.
After helping many people, Nicholas started having a strange dream. Not just once but several times — and always the same. In his dream, Jesus gave him a book of Gospels covered with jewels, and the robes of a priest.
When Nicholas told his uncle about the dream, his uncle told him that Jesus must want him to become a priest. Soon he did just that, even though he was still in his teens. As a priest, Nicholas was zealous to tell people about Jesus, and always looking for ways to help people in need or children in trouble. People talked about the kind “boy priest.”
Nicholas lived in a time when the Roman Emperor forcefully ruled much of the world. Nicholas went on a trip to see the Holy Lands. He sailed on a ship to Egypt, famous for its monumental temples and the library and lighthouse at Alexandria. But Egypt was in ruins; the Romans had persecuted and killed many people. Many others were left hungry and poor.
Nicholas also traveled to Palestine to see the places where Jesus had walked — but Jerusalem was also in ruins, the temple torn down and burned. That, too, had been done by the Romans. Nicholas visited with Christians and churches along the way, and encouraged them to help the poor and needy. While there, he had a dream that Jesus was placing a bishop’s crown on his head.
On his way home, the ship he was on got caught in a terrible storm. The ship was tossed and the rigging torn. Some of the sailors were lost at sea, others abandoned the ship and the three left were terribly afraid the ship might crash on the rocks, praying to God for mercy.
Nicholas came up on deck and joined them in their prayer. Just then, the storm stopped and the waters became calm. Very early the next morning, the little ship limped into the nearest port, a city called Myra-in Lycia, a long way from Nicholas’ home.
The three sailors told everyone how their ship had been saved when the young priest, Nicholas, had prayed with them.
“It was like a miracle!” they said.
Nicholas hurried off to a church for morning prayers, to give thanks.
The city of Myra had no bishop at that time. The previous one had died, and the remaining priests could not agree on who to elect as the new bishop. There were three priests at the church that morning, maybe more. They had been praying all night and each had had the same dream, that they were to make the first worshipper who came for morning prayers the new bishop.
Nicholas, a stranger in Myra, and still a youth (but a priest), was the first to arrive. How surprised he was when the priests told him he was to become the bishop. At first he hesitated, but they insisted, telling him of their dreams. Then he remembered his own dream.
So young Nicholas became the bishop of Myra.
Myra was an important city. As its bishop. St. Nicholas was known for his piety and zeal for Jesus and his holy church. When Nicholas taught the gospel, people said it was like receiving precious gems. He was equally concerned about the poor and needy, and helping children and others in trouble. He set a constant example, often helping people in secret ways. Many pagans were converted and baptized through his loving ministry.
But soon Nicholas was imprisoned.
The new Roman emperor, Diocletian, hated Christians and was determined to hunt them all down and kill them, or make them deny their faith. That was someone between 303 and 311 A.D. It was one of the greatest persecutions of the church; many Christians were cruelly tortured and murdered.
The three jailers guarding Nicholas tried and tried to convince him to deny his faith in Jesus. They tortured him. He was hungry and cold and wearing chains, but he taught them about Jesus and his church. He was kind to them, despite their insults. His hair and beard grew long and shaggy. In his suffering, he entrusted Jesus to protect him, and prayed for the other Christians to stand firm.
Eventually, things changed. A new emperor, Constantine, took the throne. He made Christianity the official religion of the empire. Nicholas and other imprisoned Christians were set free. Bishop Nicholas went back to his people in Myra, with his beard white and his face wrinkled.
His eyes sparkled when he talked about Jesus and the church, and he always had something for the poor and needy. He loved children and they loved him, too. Although he still was secretive about helping people, many knew about his kind deeds. But Nicholas could be firm, too — especially when false teachers would try to influence his churches.
In 325 A.D., 300 bishops gathered in the city of Nicaea to discuss the teachings of a man named Arius. He questioned Jesus’ divinity and his teaching had infected many — but not in Myra, thanks to Nicholas’ constant vigilance. Arius claimed that Jesus, as the son of God, was not eternal but created by the father as an instrument for the salvation of the world. Therefore, he was not God by nature, but a changeable creature.
Though Nicholas was not a major figure in the council, it is said that in the midst of the discussions, Nicholas actually slapped Arius for his false teaching. Because of that, some bishops wanted Nicholas removed as bishop — until Jesus and his mother appeared in their dreams and told them differently.
Nicholas died on Dec. 6, 345 or 352 A.D. Hundreds of churches have been named after him.
So this is the real St. Nicholas — an orphaned boy who became a priest and then a bishop. Who gave away all his wealth to the poor and especially to children in trouble. Who stood firm for his lord Jesus and his holy church in the midst of terrible persecution, and opposed false teachers as well.
A movie about the pastor of Myra has been made, but it has had trouble finding a distributor.