Tradition tells us that Santa Claus is named after St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, now modern Turkey. He lived 270-343 AD.
Son of wealthy parents, Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him.
This practice is still celebrated on his Feast Day, celebrated on 6th December in Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox churches and has found it’s way to our December 25th celebrations of Christ-Mass.
The modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, a derivative of “Saint Nikolaos”.
In 325, he was one of many bishops to answer the request of Constantine to appear at the First Council of Nicaea. There, Nicholas was a staunch anti-Arian, defender of the Orthodox Christian position,and one of the bishops who signed the Nicene Creed.
This council addressed the question of Christ’s divinity and humanity against the Arian position. Arius argued Christ was a created being, not co-equal with God. If this were true, Christ’s birth, death and resurrection had no power and the gospel was rendered a useless fable [1 Cor 15:14].
Tradition has it that he became so angry with the heretic Arius during the Council that he punched him in the face.
It is fitting then that the patron saint of our most beloved holiday, not only initiated the tradition of secret gift giving on a feast day, but was the true “Guardian of the Galaxy” – defending the significance of the advent of Christ’s birth for generations to come.