Happy Saint Nicholas Day to everyone!! Celebrating Saint Nicholas Day is almost as diverse as Christmas itself, with traditions in no less than 33 different countries, from Aruba, to Greece to Turkey.
St. Nicholas was born in what is now Demre, Turkey between 260 and 280. Two sources corroborate the story that Nicholas was nominated by popular acclaim to be bishop of Myra, in Turkey, while still a layman.
Three ancient accounts tell of his providing dowries for girls too poor to marry who were destined to be sold into slavery. The most ancient and reliable story of Nicholas involves him going to the port of Andriaki to settle some unrest there. On the way back, townspeople stopped him and told him of three innocent men condemned to die via beheading. Nicholas went to the place of execution, grabbed the sword away and freed the men.
Saint Nicholas was a great example of an early Christian living out the life of peace, justice and mercy as taught by Our Lord in a world of confusion and violence. He is a great example for us who strive to live the Gospel today.