Via Slappy holiday, it turns out that in addition to being an extremely generous person St. Nicholas (the real one) had sound doctrine regarding the deity of Jesus — and he didn’t take kindly to church leaders who disagreed.
First, the part that some people are already aware of:
Santa Claus had his origins in St. Nicholas, the fourth-century bishop of Myra in present-day Turkey. Known for his generosity and his love of children, Nicholas is said to have saved a poor family’s daughters from slavery by tossing into their window enough gold for a rich dowry, a present that landed in some shoes or, in some accounts, stockings that were hung up to dry. Thus arose the custom of hanging up stockings for St. Nicholas to fill. And somehow he transmogrified into Santa Claus, who has become for many people the secular Christmas alternative to Jesus Christ.
I avoid being a total buzzkill about it, but let’s just say I’m not a Santa fan. I am mystified that many churches perpetuate the myths by bringing “Santa” inside the building to interact with kids — as if the distractions from Jesus that are outside the church weren’t enough. So I’m glad when people at least refer back to the actions of the real St. Nicholas.
But on to the good news:
But there is more to the story of Nicholas of Myra. He was also a delegate to the Council of Nicea in a.d. 325, which battled the heretics who denied the deity of Christ. He was thus one of the authors of the Nicene Creed, which affirms that Jesus Christ is both true God and true man. And unlike his later manifestation, Nicholas was particularly zealous in standing up for Christ.
During the Council of Nicea, jolly old St. Nicholas got so fed up with Arius, who taught that Jesus was just a man, that he walked up and slapped him! . . . The point is, the original Santa Claus was someone who flew off the handle when he heard someone minimizing Christ.
Read it all, if nothing else but for the “naughty and Nicean” line.
We don’t need to slap laity and leaders who deny the divinity of Jesus, but kicking them out of the church would be a great start and would make the real St. Nicholas happy.
(Photo Credit: Drew Collins)