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The Devout Saint Nicholas And His Connection With Christmas

by | Sun, Dec 25 2022

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Saint Nicholas is forever linked with Christmas because of his lifetime of good deeds in the third and fourth centuries.

He was a Christian bishop of Greek descent in the city of Myra in Asia Minor or what’s now part of Turkey.

He became renowned for his miraculous intercessions, his generosity and his secret gift-giving.

Historians have struggled to separate reality from legend in his remarkable story of faith.

They know Nicholas was born to wealthy parents who raised him to be a devout Christian, but died when he was still young.

He followed the words of Jesus in Matthew 6 to give to the needy and to store up treasures for yourself in Heaven by praying every day, by fasting, and by performing good deeds.

He became known as a wonder worker because of those deeds, some of which were considered miracles.

Nicholas used his entire inheritance to assist the poor, the sick, and the suffering and dedicated his life to serving God.

He also followed the caution of Christ at the start of Matthew 6: Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.

One of his most famous secret deeds was paying the dowry of three sisters from a poor family so that they wouldn’t be sold into slavery.

On three separate occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home providing the dowries to enable the sisters to marry well.

The bags of gold which were tossed through an open window are said to have landed in stockings and shoes left to dry in front of a fire.

Under the Roman Empire of Diocletian who ruthlessly persecuted Christians Nicholas was exiled and jailed for his faith.

He was eventually released and lived to see Constantine come to power and legalise Christianity.

He is said to have been a devoted supporter of Trinitarianism and it’s claimed he was one of the bishops who signed the Nicene Creed.

He died on December 6, 343.

Archaeologists recently discovered his tomb and a mosaic floor in the original Church of Saint Nicholas which became submerged under the Mediterranean sea in what’s now the Turkish town of Demre.

They also unearthed a fresco of Jesus at the church which is an official UNESCO World Heritage site.

Saint Nicholas is considered the patron saint of sailors, merchants, children, students, archers, brewers, pawnbrokers, repentant thieves and  unmarried people.

The anniversary of his death on December 6 is still a day of celebration in countries like Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

It’s their main day of gift giving rather than December 25.

Recalling the story of the bags of gold, children hang up their stockings near the fire and leave carrots and hay in their shoes in the hope that Saint Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts.

His gift giving is recognised nearly everywhere else in the world where his name has evolved into Santa Claus.