The True Story of Santa Claus

a blog post from Seasons for Souls

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, born to a wealthy family during the third century in Asia Minor, then Greece, now Turkey. When a person lived as long ago as St. Nicholas, it is sometimes difficult to separate fact from legend. His parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic. Obeying Jesus’ words, Nicholas gave all that he had to the poor, the sick, and the suffering. Later, when he was Bishop of Myra, he became famous for these saintly deeds. He also suffered for his faith and was exiled and imprisoned under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians. After his release, Bishop Nicholas attended the Council of Nicea in AD 325.

There are many stories of St. Nicholas and his many kind and generous acts. He did them in secret, expecting nothing in return. His most well-known story is of him anonymously giving of his wealth to a neighbor to help the neighbor’s daughters. There are also tales of St. Nicholas rescuing sailors, relieving famine, sparing the lives of children, and protecting the innocent. To learn more about the stories of St. Nicholas and how his feast day is celebrated around the world, please visit the St. Nicholas Center website.

At All Souls, celebrating the Feast of St. Nicholas on December 6 is a treasured tradition. The feast day falls at the beginning of Advent, which is the start of a new year in the Church calendar. When we gather to listen to a theatrical telling of the life of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, we are reminded of what it means to serve Jesus in a special and sacrificial way. This is true both in our individual lives—be we young or old—as well as our lives as a church community inspiring our Souls on Mission outreach work, which we do here in our local community as well as in other parts of the world.

The Feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated on December 6, the anniversary of his death. Please plan to join us at All Souls on this special day for a short dramatic retelling of the life of St. Nicholas, followed by festivities downstairs. More information here. This celebration is appropriate for all ages and everyone is welcome!

A Collect for St Nicholas

Almighty God, in your love you gave your servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness both on land and sea: Grant, we pray, that your Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.