(St. Nicholas Center) - The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: While some of my readers may object to this, please know I'm not telling you what to do on this matter. I'm simply conveying what my wife and I did. We chose not to tell our children about the Christmas myths concerning Santa Claus, the flying reindeer, the chimney, the elves or the toy shop at the North Pole. No, we keeps our stories of Christmas limited to the Nativity, and we told them about the REAL St. Nicholas.
Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th...
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One day, when my 7-year old son was playing outside, some older neighbour boys (pre-teen) began teasing him about Santa Claus, asking him very sarcastically if he had been a 'good boy this year,' and if Santa was going to bring him presents. My son, being a very conscientious young man, was careful not to let on that these myths meant nothing to him. Then he came into the house, closed the door behind him, laughed and shook his head saying 'Ha! They still believe in Santa Claus!'
We never told our kids that the Santa myths were not real. We never had to. We simply took them to department stores and let them sit on Santa's lap. We showed them the Christmas specials about Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, etc. Then one day the questions came. 'Mommy, Daddy, is Santa Claus real?' To which we simply answered 'Well, what do you think?' In every case, our kids said something to the extent of 'No, probably not' or 'I don't think so.' So that's where we left it. We neither confirmed nor denied. We simply let our own kids figure it out, with no help or hindrance from us. They came to their own conclusion at about age 4.
Now I have no objection to parents who want to tell their kids the Santa myths. If that's your family thing, than have at it. However, when the time comes to tell them the truth, I request you please stock up on the real information about the real Saint Nicholas, so when the time comes to burst their bubble, you'll be ready to re-inflate it with something more meaningful.