As Christmas slowly approaches, the air is beginning to fill with the sights and sounds of the holidays. Lights are being strung across roofs of buildings and houses across the nation. Radio stations have already played about every Christmas song they have available, and carolers will soon begin to ring doorbell after doorbell. This holiday is especially a favorite for children, because it’s when Santa will hopefully visit and bring them presents…if they were nice, of course. But many wonder, just how did Santa Claus come to be?
The man many people know as Santa Claus, or Kris Kringle, did not follow the exact history we see in Christmas movies with magic elves or flying reindeer. His true identity is St. Nicholas, as some people still call him today. Nicholas was born in the the third century in a small village near what is today present-day Turkey. At a young age, he knew he wanted to dedicate his life to God, so he became a Bishop of Myra. Bishop Nicholas was known for his extreme generosity, love for children and his efforts to aid the poor, which is how he still seen today, a symbol for caring and giving to others.
Nicholas’ religion would cause him much suffering, as he practiced his Christian faith during the reign of Roman Emperor Diocletian, who persecuted thousands of Christians while on the throne. Nicholas was exiled and thrown into prison, with countless other bishops, priests, and deacons, but was eventually released. Soon after his release, he attended a council that was called together in order to preserve the teachings of Jesus Christ. Many years later, Nicholas died on December 6, 343 AD and was buried in Myra in his cathedral church. The day of his death soon became known as St. Nicholas Day, a day of celebration much like Christmas.
Although St. Nick may not have lived in the North Pole with a toy factory full of magical elves and a sleigh full of toys, he stilled lived a life that many people should strive to follow. St. Nicholas became Santa Claus not only to excite kids for the holidays, but also to continue what he taught others, that giving is better than receiving and that treating others with kindness is always better than hate. This concept should not only occur during the month of December, it should be practiced daily by everyone, and it is also why St. Nicholas was the perfect choice for modern day Kris Kringle.