The historical prelate, a bishop in what would be the modern nation of Turkey, died in the year 342.
But he has been making legends long before 1822, when Clement Clark Moore switched his appearance from December 6th to Christmas Eve, and spawned the modern Santa Claus in the process.
One or the origins of St. Nick’s extraordinary generosity is the story of how he helped a poor family on the verge of selling their three daughters into prostitution. dressed in full episcopal garb, he snuck up to the girl’s house at night and threw in a bag of gold, repeating the secret gift on three consecutive nights, thereby giving the girls their dowry and their freedom.
From this account, the saint has usually been represented with three pouches of gold, which eventually became the international symbol of pawnbrokers (sometimes represented as three golden balls), and Nicholas their patron saint.
If you’re deep in debt, my office lowers the legal fees right before Christmas. That’s even a better deal than a pawn shop will give you!
St. Nicholas, pray for us!
By Doug Beaton