Happy St. Nicholas Day!
Well, here’s my annual (when I remember it) Saint Nicholas Day post. Yes, I know, I don’t give any other historic Christian saints this kind of attention, but the figure of Santa Claus is so ubiquitous in this season of the year — I think it’s helpful to refer back to the original source of this myth. I think we can learn much more from the real St. Nick than from his fat, commercialized imposter.
Here’s something Peter Enns posted in 2014:
Nicholas was a beast. Mother Teresa, Oskar Schindler, and Samuel L. Jackson all rolled into one. What an absolute crushing beast.I like the icon – his eyes. He is looking off to the side, like he’s annoyed about having to sit there for a portrait while people in need were suffering.
From Medievalists.net: How did a 4th century bishop become the jolly man who comes down the chimney with gifts for children on Christmas? From St. Nicholas to Santa Claus.
Christopher B. Warner gives us a nice rundown of the stories associated with Saint Nicholas at the [Roman] Catholic World Report here: You Better Watch Out—St. Nicholas is Coming to Town.
Here’s an old 1888 painting: Saint Nicholas of Myra saves three innocents from death.
From Adam C. English (in 2013): Will the Real St. Nick Please Stand Up?
Here’s is another one written by Amanda Fulginiti in 2013: Will the Real St. Nick Please Stand Up? The Image / Legend of Santa Claus
From a blogger who wants to be known as “Coach-Rev” (his problem, not mine) in 2016: Would the REAL St. Nick please stand up?
And, here are some additional resources:
At Christianity Today: The Real Saint Nicholas by Ted Olsen
I think the Wikipedia article on St. Nicholas is quite good.
But, my favorite place to go for info on good ol’ Saint Nick is The Saint Nicholas Center’s Web Site. There are several interesting articles there: Who Is St. Nicholas? and Saint Nicholas and the Origin of Santa Claus. Many years ago I used the information and images at the St. Nicholas Center site to put together a Power Point presentation on St. Nick. I think the stories of Saint Nicholas are good ones to tell in this season (even though, of course, no one knows how much of it is true).
A Roman Catholic blogger wrote this about St. Nicholas a few years ago: Mike Aquilina on St. Nicholas Day
And, Church historian Chris Armstrong wrote: Happy Feast Day of the (real) St. Nick!