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History of the Feast of Saint Nicholas

AS WE WAIT FOR GOD TO BECOME INCARNATE, we look to the whole body of Christ, past and present, for models of embodied faith. The commemoration of saints has been a part of Christian worship since the second century.

Today we remember Saint Nicholas, who was the Bishop of Myra in the province of Lycia during the fourth century. Very little is known about his life, but he is remembered as a man of great faith and compassion. He was also a fierce advocate for those who had been unjustly condemned. But he left behind no writings: the legends surrounding his life are all we have.


Nicholas is most well known in the West as the beloved patron saint of children and gift-giving. His connection to the American character of Santa Claus is faint, but it can be traced. According to tradition, Nicholas’ parents died when he was young, leaving him a large sum of money. With his inheritance, Nicholas practiced charity, helping those in need.


This is an extract from "History of the Feast of Saint Nicholas by Beth Bevis, from God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas". To read the full article please click here.

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