Christians are only too willing to tell their young ones about the legend of Santa Claus, but when children obtain the age of reason and realize that reindeer can’t fly and fat men aren’t likely to skinny down a chimney even if they do wear a red suit we do not take the time to complete their education. This is not an option, it is our Christian responsibility, for the legend of Santa Claus is based upon a real person.
In the fourth century a man by the name of Nicholas was the Bishop in Myra, Turkey. Father Nicholas was not only a good man, but he was wealthy too, for he had inherited a large sum of money from his parents when they passed away.
It came to pass that three daughters, each one year apart from the other, were soon to become eligible for marriage, but at the time it was the custom for the woman to present the man with a dowry which was usually a large sum of money or goods to even be considered by the men in any village.
Unfortunately, the father of the three girls was a poor man, and he was in despair at the thought that his daughters might remain unmarried for the rest of their lives.
On the eve of his first daughters’ birthday, Father Nicholas put some gold coins in a small pouch and tossed them through the window of their kitchen late at night. The next morning, the father found the pouch when he woke up, and the first girl was married quickly, for she was very beautiful.
The next year, when the second daughter was to come of age, Father Nicholas did the same thing on the eve of her birthday, and the second daughter was married just as quickly.
By this time, the father was intent upon finding out who his benefactor was, so on the eve of his third daughters’ birthday, he stayed up all night, taking occasional cat-naps in a kitchen chair. When the money came flying through the kitchen window, the man bolted out the door and chased the good Father down. Upon catching him and determining who he was, Father Nicholas swore him to secrecy. Fortunately for us, the father of these three young women did not keep the secret.
After Nicholas was elevated to sainthood, an anonymous author of the tenth century wrote, “The West as well as the East acclaims and glorifies him. Wherever there are people, in the country and the town, in the villages, in the isles, in the farthest parts of the earth, his name is revered and churches are erected in his honor.” 
As civilization moved west, so too did the story of St. Nicholas, whose name was changed from country to country along the way. The Dutch who eventually settled in America first referred to St. Nicholas as Sint Klaes and finally as Santa Claus, the word “Santa” meaning “Saint” and “Claus” being an abbreviation of “Nicholas”.
The story of St. Nicholas, being too difficult for youngsters to fathom, was soon converted into a legendary tale of mythic proportions based in the North Pole, complete with flying reindeer and a jolly fat man who had the inexplicable ability to enter a house through the chimney.
Over time, the original story was largely forgotten, repeated only in anthologies of the saints. It is time, however, to resurrect our rich Christian heritage and impart it to a new generation, who will proudly pass it on to their children, for it is ultimately a story of hope that belongs to all the children of the world. We have no right to keep it from them.