The Important Secret St. Nicholas And Santa Claus Share.

(Fox News) It's Saint Nicholas Day today; recognized as a feast day of the Christian bishop who lived during the fourth century. It's also a name we associate with Christmas, chimneys, and stockings on the mantle. 

Author and historian Bill Bennett says, "His life, to be sure, is obscured by time and legend. (Bill looked at the facts.) "It’s a history I explore in my book, 'The True Saint Nicholas.'"

This very old story of selfless generosity is quite remarkable. When Nicholas was a young man living in his hometown of Patara (in what is now Turkey), he heard of a family that had fallen on hard times. The desperate parents were too poor to provide dowries so that their three daughters could marry. They decided that the only way to keep their daughters from starving was to sell them into servitude. 

When Nicholas put a few gold coins he had inherited into a small bag and, one night when the family was sleeping, tossed it through a window into their home. It was enough money to provide a dowry for the oldest daughter, who was soon married.

When Nicholas saw the effects of his gift, he returned and tossed another bag of gold through the window so the second daughter could be married. When he came several nights later with a third bag, the tearful father was waiting to see who their secret benefactor was. Nicholas begged him not to tell anyone, but his act of generosity set him on the path to becoming the world’s most famous gift giver.

The rest of the story continued with the Reformation movement against the Catholic Church. Protestants began removing all references to Nicholas (and other saints); with some smashing statues and windows containing their likenesses. But not even that destruction and religious removal could erase the generosity of this amazing man. 

According to Bennett, "There is one essential truth in the stories of Nicholas and Santa Claus: the goodness of the gift offered with no expectation of anything in return. That spirit lives in any parent who with secret joy watches a wonder-struck child on Christmas morning." It's still working 17 centuries later, 


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