The real Saint Nick, was a godly individual. He stood for Christ during a time when being a Christian was unpopular and could result in death. The short story below is written to help children and adults appreciate the story of the real Santa Claus and better appreciate how we have come to celebrate Christmas thanks to Jesus.
The Real Saint Nick Story
The story of Saint Nick starts with Christmas. Christmas is the time of year we should celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world. Jesus is a king who was born in a manger and died on a cross for our sins. His birth will always be the most important birth in history. Why? Because Jesus is God! The Jewish people had been waiting for His arrival for thousands of years. Jesus was the most important person to ever live. His life brings eternal life to those who trusts in Him. (John 3:16).
During the 4th Century, a boy named Nicholas was born in the Middle Eastern Country of Turkey. He had parents who loved and trusted in Jesus. Nicholas also loved Jesus. When he was a young boy, it was common for a follower of Jesus to be harmed by others. However, Nicholas’ family chose to live for Jesus regardless of the danger. Nothing was going to stop them.
While Nicholas was young, he was thrown in jail because he followed Jesus. However, jail did not stop his love for Christ. He met with other followers of Jesus as often as he could to encourage them to keep following Jesus. Unfortunately while he was a young boy, both of his parents became ill and died. Nick was sad by the loss of his parents, but he knew His parents trusted in Jesus and he would see them in heaven one day. Nicholas also knew that his parents would want him to keep following Jesus. He decided the best way to show his love for Jesus was by loving others. Nick used the money his parents left him to help other people in need. He especially loved helping children. He began traveling from house to house and secretly leave gifts for those in need. One famous story came during a time when Nicholas helped a poor father with his three young girls. In those days, a young woman’s father had to give a gift to a potential husband so he would marry his daughter. The larger the gift, the better the chance a young woman would have in finding a good husband. Without a gift to give, a woman was less likely to marry. Since this poor father had little money, his three daughters were destined to never be married. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in the home of the father with three girls. This provided the girls with the needed money for marriage. The bags of gold were said to have been tossed through an open window, and landed in stockings left before the fireplace to dry. No one ever heard Nicholas say he was the one that left the gifts for the young girls, but everyone knew it was him. This soon led to the tradition of children hanging stockings in hopes of receiving a gift. Kids hung their stockings next to the fireplace eagerly waiting for gifts from Nick.
It did not take long before people all around began watching the way Nicholas loved Jesus and loved others. Nicholas’s love and generosity were contagious. Soon other people started copying what he was doing. His influence led to a celebration all around the world. In order to show the love of Jesus, Christians decided to start giving special gifts on the day we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. A day we call Christmas. They thought Christmas was an important day to give gifts because Jesus’ birthday was the day we all received the greatest gift from God. This gift was the day God was born in a manger as a man. He lived and died for us so we could live with Him forever. Jesus has given us the gift of Eternal life. (John 3:16).
Christmas is a day that brings everyone together. It is a day we celebrate because of Jesus. Thanks to the influence of Nicholas, Christmas is a day that teaches us to love and give to one another because Jesus loved us and gave Himself for us. One day a year, all across America we celebrate Christmas. While this holiday only lasts one day, Nicholas celebrated Christmas throughout the year. When he saw someone in need, he would love them as Jesus loved them. He knew the best way to show his love for Jesus was by loving others and helping them when they were in need.
Nick’s impact beyond Christmas: Nicholas went on to become a prominent christian leader. As a leader, he received an invitation to one of the most important church meetings in Christian history. It was at a place called Nicaea in 325 A.D.; the meeting was filled with hundreds of Christian leaders who had suffered and been in jail because they loved Jesus. Together they wrote a letter called the Nicene Creed. It was a letter that taught people how to follow Jesus and believe in Him. This letter was so important that people continue to read it and cherish it to this very day.
Why do we call Him Santa and/or Saint Nick? As history continued, Nicholas was referred to as Saint Nicholas. People began to refer to him as a Saint to show respect and admiration for him because of his love for Jesus. In fact many countries began to reference him as a Saint in their own native language. One of the people groups that strongly appreciated Saint Nick was the Dutch. The Dutch language pronounced Saint Nick’s name as “Sinter Klaas”. As the Dutch began to migrate to English speaking countries they brought with them their high respect for “Sinter Klaas” or as we spell it in English, “Santa Claus”. Keep in mind, the Bible calls every believer in Jesus a “Saint” (see Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 14:33). Therefore we should not use the term saint for a select few Christians but as a title of respect for those who trust in Christ.
- Read John 3:16 or Ephesians 2:8-9 and answer: What is the greatest Christmas gift God has given to all of us?
- Why did Nicholas give presents to people?
- Why do we celebrate Christmas today?
- How can we celebrate Christmas every day?