I have no expectation that the children of families that celebrate Santa in their home, or even the Elf on the Shelf will read this. But, be advised that this post will be honest and transparent. Obviously on the social medias, I DO NOT talk about these sorts of things. But this post will be linked from my Twitter, Google+, and Facebook accounts. You’ve been warned!
The man we generally refer to as Santa Claus has had several names through the years. Above all, you should know him as Nikolaos of Myra. He eventually became the Bishop of Myra. FYI, Myra is in present day Turkey, on the southern coast of Turkey. The city was renamed Demre, and it doesn’t appear to be a large contributor to the nation of Turkey these days. The closest major metropolitan today seems to be Antalya.
I really don’t desire to retell the whole story of St. Nicholas. The Wikipedia article and some others do that quite well:
I just wanted to inform the Christian parents out there who may have struggled with lying to their kids, or teaching them moralism/legalism with the Elf on the Shelf, that there are alternatives to the secular traditions, that yet still honor the historical narrative.
St. Nick was a real man, a bishop of the Church even! He is/was considered the patron saint of many cool things, including sailors, repentant thieves, children, and even brewers.
“The historical Saint Nicholas is commemorated and revered among Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox Christians. In addition, some Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches have been named in honor of Saint Nicholas.” – Wikipedia
Additionally, St. Nick was a tough guy. He had no room for heresy and/or crappy theology! I love that he stood up to heretics!
“In 325, he was one of many bishops to answer the request of Constantine and appear at the First Council of Nicaea. There, Nicholas was a staunch anti-Arian and defender of the Orthodox Christian position, and one of the bishops who signed the Nicene Creed. Tradition has it that he became so angry with the heretic Arius during the Council of Nicea that he punched him in the face.” – Wikipedia
When you look at all the wonderful, historical artwork of St. Nick, you’ll see the common thread of the white beard and some sort of red theme to his get up. Clearly that carried over to the Northern European interpretations that eventually became the American Coco-Cola themed Santa Claus.