Even in our modern understanding of Saint Nicholas, that is, in all the movies and stories about Santa Claus, we have not forgotten one of the most important things about St. Nicholas, something that he did so much and so often, that it helps us know why he is such a shining star and saint of the Church: he gave to the poor. All the stories of Santa Claus are rooted in the way that St. Nicholas gave, especially giving alms. The idea of stockings hanging on the fireplace or filling shoes with coins, go back to one specific time that St. Nicholas gave to the poor.
In the city where St. Nicholas lived, there also lived a man who once had been rich, but had fallen into poverty. This man had three daughters. At that time, a woman could not marry unless her family was able to give a dowry, that is, money and gifts, to the family of the man she hoped to marry. This man was so poor that he had lost all hope of being able to marry off his daughters.
In his despair, an evil idea came to him: for his family to have the money to survive, he decided to sell his daughters into a kind of slavery. The girls would have been forced to do ugly and awful things.Continue reading “The Secret Gifts of St. Nicholas”