the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, On Dec. 6, the faithful commemorated a bishop in the early church who was known for generosity and love of children. Born in Lycia in Asia Minor , modern day Turkey around the late third or fourth century, St. Nicholas of Myra is more than just the inspiration for the modern day Santa Claus .
St. Nicholas, the original person behind the Santa Claus legend. Known as Nicholas of Myra .The bishop was noted for his unbridled generosity .
Interestingly enough, he played a role in a key event in Christian history, as he answered a request in 325 by the Roman emperor Constantine and took part in the First Council of Nicaea. During that council, leaders of the early Christian church including Nicholas approved the Nicene Creed and settled on a date for the Easter celebration.
St. Nicholas became associated with Christmas because of the tradition that he had of giving secret gifts to children. It is also conjectured that the saint, who was known to wear red robes and have a long white beard, was culturally converted into the large man with a reindeer-drawn sled full of toys because in German, his name is “San Nikolaus” which almost sounds like “Santa Claus.”
Interesting enough, letters weren’t sent to Nicholas until long after his death. While he was recognized as a saint, “letters to santa “didn’t start coming from children until more than 900 years later. They were not seen as toy requests as much as written prayers. The St. Nicholas Center records the first letter as being sent by a little girl at some period after the year 1200.