Saint Nicholas of Myra

Tradition tells us that he became concerned about the welfare of three young women in his parish. Their father, of noble estate, was impoverished and about to deliver them into a life of slavery to ameliorate the family situation. It was not uncommon in the ancient world for a young woman's dowry to support her parental family for a time. Saint Nicholas is called a saint because he saw the impending bondage of three women. He provided the gift, the golden dowry of their freedom. This lifted the burden of necessity and made it possible for each of these young women to make her own way in the world.

Some versions of the story tell that Saint Nicholas threw his gift of gold down the chimney. Some say he left it by the door or tossed it through the open window. At Christmas time we have a curious likeness of the venerable saint scurrying down chimneys, bearing gifts, the gifts that add a measure of richness to our lives. Who can doubt the reality of Santa Claus knowing his origins, knowing the spirit he evokes? Saint Nicholas of Myra lives on in all those Christmas offerings that liberate people to live lives in which joy is possible.