Monday, December 11, 2006

Santa Claus: More Roman Catholic stuff


St. Nicholas by Susan Seals
Used by permission
The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Elisabeth Jvanovsky illustration
Illus. by Elisabeth Jvanovsky from Saint Nicholas by Henri Gheon, Sheed and Ward, 1936

Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day.

Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need. more.

The need for this post stems from a fun conversation at work. It was posited by someone that "Nicholas was a German guy who gave away presents in Germany, somewhere." Not quite, young man but being misinformed about the Roman Catholic origin of just about everything is easy to do.

In a way, a discerning Protestant or pagan should banish the though of teaching their children about a very good Roman Catholic Bishop..... maybe they need to come up with their own guy for the "Holidays", maybe Kwanzaa Claus modeled somewhat on Jesse Jackson and Malcolm X.

The non-believers need a new word, also, as holiday comes from "Holy Day." So when they go around insisting in their pedantic way to have a "Happy Holy Day", they scarcely know what they are saying. I'm happy to have one though

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