December 6: St. Nicholas
Nicholas is the great patron of children and of Christmas giving. He lived in the fourth century. Santa Claus is a short form of St. Nicholas. This famous saint was born in Asia Minor, which is modern-day Turkey. After his parents died, he gave all his money to charity.
Once a certain poor man was about to abandon his daughters to a life of sin because they did not have the money for a dowry. Nicholas heard about his problem. He went to the man's house at night and tossed a little pouch of gold through a window. This was for the oldest daughter. He did the same thing for the second daughter. The grateful father kept watch to find out who was being so good to them. When St. Nicholas came a third time, the man recognized him. He thanked Nicholas over and over again.
Later St. Nicholas became bishop. He loved justice. It is said that once he saved three men who had been falsely condemned to death. He then turned to their accuser. He made the man admit that he had been offered money to get rid of the three men.
St. Nicholas died in Myra, and a great basilica was built over his tomb. Many churches were dedicated in his name. When his relics were brought to Bari, Italy, this city became a famous shrine for pilgrims from all over Europe. Nicholas is the patron of sailors and prisoners. With St. Andrew, he is the patron of Russia.
The great charity of this saint has become legendary. Is there someone in my life who needs my love and generosity?