Many of us know St. Nick as a jolly plump fellow with a white beard, a taste for cookies and milk, and a big bag full of toys from the North Pole that are suspiciously similar to ones found on the shelves of Toys R Us. Today I came across a comment from Shane Claiborne about the real story of this man:
The original “Old St. Nick” who inspired the tradition of Santa Claus – Nicholas was bishop of Myra in fourth-century Turkey. Little is known about his life except that he entrusted himself to Jesus at an early age and, when his parents died, gave all of their possessions to the poor.
While serving as bishop, Nicholas learned of three girls who were going to be sold into slavery by their father. Moved to use the church’s wealth to ransom the lives of these little ones, he tossed three bags of gold through the family’s window. We remember this ancient Christmas gift, even as we remember that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year in the global sex trade today.
Let’s do radical things like that this Christmas.