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Category: Holidays / Topics: Christmas History Holidays Holiday Season

St. Nicholas

by Dan Seagren

Posted: December 17, 2018

Finding Santa's roots…

Who hasn't heard of St. Nick? Newborns and a few others, perhaps. Saint Nicholas was born in Patara, a land that is part of present-day Turkey, circa 280 A.D, 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.

Nicholas lost both of his parents as a young man and reportedly used his inheritance to help the poor and sick. 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.

If St. Nicholas traditionally evolved into Santa Claus or not, rarely do we think of Saint Claus but Santa. So let's see what Santa means: Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or simply Santa, is a legendary figure originating in the West. The word claus first appeared in the 13th century and is often spelled klaus although not in some dictionaries or thesauruses.

What is known is that Santa Claus is fictional with ties to Saint Nicholas, a real person, and often identified as the same individual. Santa strives to make Christmas a festive time of giving gifts to both rich and poor folks in unique fashions by traveling from the North Pole in an airborne sleigh sliding down chimneys delivering gifts. Santa has a gift of making Christmas irresistible to the young and a bonanza (godsend) for adults.

Notice that godsend is not capitalized helping make Christmas available for everyone, not only for believers (followers of Christ (Jesus). Consequently, the Christ of Christmas can get lost in the magnificent festive holiday. Regrettably the fact that Christmas is an awesome birthday celebration, there are those who celebrate Christmas without knowing who Jesus Christ is, why He is so dynamically celebrated at Christmastime and even, but with less charm, at His death, resurrection and ascension back to His Father's Mansion (heaven) and His promise to return to earth with arms outstretched welcoming His followers to their new heavenly Home. Hopefully this will include many of my readers. 

Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: December 17, 2018

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