Raising three daughters in 3rd century Turkey is hard for a peasant. Without a dowry they could never get married. The joy of having grandchildren and finding financial security of a large family in the old age is all but a dream for a simple farmer caught in this despair.
One winter night, the father of three girls woke up to the noise of something falling through the chimney. In the pile of ashes he found three purses filled with gold. The gold in each purse handsomely provided dowry for each daughter. There was only one crazy man in the town of Myra who would do such a thing. This man, even though he came from a very wealthy family, had given away his entire inheritance to the poor. And even though he was a bishop now, he did not keep any of his salary. Most of it he gave away to children.
Bishop Nicholas of Myra is the real historic person behind our legends of Santa. Unlike Santa, he was an expert in theology and pastoral ministry. He was one of the top 300 church leaders that signed the Nicene Creed in 325AD. And, he was a convicted felon for preaching the gospel, serving a prison term under Emperor Diocletian and a brief exile. Real Santa was hardcore for Jesus!
Happy St. Nicholas Day!