Today, December 6, is the anniversary of the death of St. Nicholas in 343, a leader in the ancient Church in the city of Myra in Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey. If you’ve ever heard of the Dutch tradition of children leaving their shoes out in hopes of finding goodies left in them, like gold-foil-covered chocolate coins, it’s based on a story that St. Nicholas gave three young women the funds to pay for their dowries. According to another story, likely a legend, St. Nick punched Arius at the Council of Nicaea for his heresy.
Aside from his reputation for legendary generosity, what we know about St. Nicholas is that he was imprisoned and possibly tortured for being a Christian by the Emperor Diocletian, before being released from prison by the Emperor Constantine. That’s enough to make him a hero, and to honor him by hanging stockings in his honor. … Just remember that the True Gift of Advent is the Christ he was unwilling to forsake.
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