The War over St. Nicholas


I’m going to copy and paste another writer’s “The Origin of Santa” because it is the best timeline of events that I have ever seen compiled. I stumbled on this while reading reactions to Fox New’s assertion that Santa was white and that Jesus was white, both assertions being patently ridiculous. Both were native Middle Eastern and clearly must have had dark brown skin. Many of the Christian values people embrace today are good values, but as could be seen on Fox News the white supremacist agenda overlaid on these values is just plain wrong. What follows is the historic account of where Santa Claus really came from.

After that I provide the text of a chapter from the Bible which explicitly forbids what we would now call a Christmas Tree from Jeremiah Chapter 10 vs 1-5. You can check your own Bible to verify this is true.

While we do not celebrate Christmas in my household, we do embrace the notion of doing what we can to help those less fortunate than ourselves throughout the year and not only on some arbitrarily chosen date. It is just wrong to isolate good will like that.

And let’s not forget that the Bible provides us with two accounts of the birth of Jesus. One is roughly the revered manger scene, and in the other Jesus is born in a house. Why do we choose to embrace one and ignore the other? I leave you to look that one up yourself.

– – –

The Origin of Santa Claus

[Written and compiled by “Orando“]

a. Nicholas was born in Parara, Turkey in 270 CE and later became Bishop of Myra. He died in 345 CE on December 6th. He was only named a saint in the 19th century.

b. Nicholas was among the most senior bishops who convened the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE and created the New Testament. The text they produced portrayed Jews as “the children of the devil” who sentenced Jesus to death.

c. In 1087, a group of sailors who idolized Nicholas moved his bones from Turkey to a sanctuary in Bari, Italy. There Nicholas supplanted a female boon-giving deity called The Grandmother, or Pasqua Epiphania, who used to fill the children’s stockings with her gifts. The Grandmother was ousted from her shrine at Bari, which became the center of the Nicholas cult. Members of this group gave each other gifts during a pageant they conducted annually on the anniversary of Nicholas’ death, December 6.

d. The Nicholas cult spread north until it was adopted by German and Celtic pagans. These groups worshipped a pantheon led by Woden –their chief god and the father of Thor, Balder, and Tiw. Woden had a long, white beard and rode a horse through the heavens one evening each Autumn. When Nicholas merged with Woden, he shed his Mediterranean appearance, grew a beard, mounted a flying horse, rescheduled his flight for December, and donned heavy winter clothing.

e. In a bid for pagan adherents in Northern Europe, the Catholic Church adopted the Nicholas cult and taught that he did (and they should) distribute gifts on December 25th instead of December 6th.

f. In 1809, the novelist Washington Irving (most famous his The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle) wrote a satire of Dutch culture entitled Knickerbocker History. The satire refers several times to the white bearded, flying-horse riding Saint Nicholas using his Dutch name, Santa Claus.

g. Dr. Clement Moore, a professor at Union Seminary, read Knickerbocker History, and in 1822 he published a poem based on the character Santa Claus: “Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in the hope that Saint Nicholas soon would be there…” Moore innovated by portraying a Santa with eight reindeer who descended through chimneys.

h. The Bavarian illustrator Thomas Nast almost completed the modern picture of Santa Claus. From 1862 through 1886, based on Moore’s poem, Nast drew more than 2,200 cartoon images of Santa for Harper’s Weekly. Before Nast, Saint Nicholas had been pictured as everything from a stern looking bishop to a gnome-like figure in a frock. Nast also gave Santa a home at the North Pole, his workshop filled with elves, and his list of the good and bad children of the world. All Santa was missing was his red outfit.

i. In 1931, the Coca Cola Corporation contracted the Swedish commercial artist Haddon Sundblom to create a coke-drinking Santa. Sundblom modeled his Santa on his friend Lou Prentice, chosen for his cheerful, chubby face. The corporation insisted that Santa’s fur-trimmed suit be bright, Coca Cola red. And Santa was born – a blend of Christian crusader, pagan god, and commercial idol.

– – –

Jeremiah Chapter 10

verses 1-5

1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

– – –

May you embrace the current moment always and do what you can for those you happen to come into contact with. We are a social people and should make things right everywhere we go.

10 thoughts on “The War over St. Nicholas

  1. Hey Jim
    I have not been on a lot lately. Just been busy with the holidays and traveling a bit more. Ive actually been away from posting as long as a month or so…
    But noticed that you have been away for a while which is not the norm for you so just checking up on ya.

    • Hi, Dianne. My life has been “interesting” and I should have been writing about it all but honestly I just haven’t wanted to. Jury duty, an ice storm with 3/4 inches of ice that killed our town’s power for four days, followed by wicked cold weather -10 F with windchill of -40 F along with two feet of snow, followed by our nearly moving because the lot lease we were presented was unacceptable.

      I have been asked to become enough of an ordained minister to perform a wedding. And I have accepted a writing position at to write articles about the iPad (nonpaying, but that site gets over a million hits each month and it’s exposure. I’ve also been furiously studying music and have finished the piano part of a new piece of music although it has a ways to go with other instruments.

      I’ve had lots to write about but no will to do so. I think I’ve been overwhelmed. Happy and healthy, just needing to take a step back. Thanks for checking in, it means a lot.

      • Well, I am glad that you are busy! Always good to feel needed! Saying that… I do miss your face! I kinda got used to being gifted with a piece of your mind eveytime I posted!

  2. Hey Jim,
    Been meaning to come back and thank you for the catch up! Remembered when I was just notifiied of some activity here! To have you on jury duty! Oh my! That must be enlightening. LOL. 🙂
    Happy New Year! Don’t be a stranger!!!

    • I had to moderate in your comment! You are allowed free access here, I’m puzzled. I need to do some catchup posts soon. There’s been no will so there’s been no way. LOL. I was excused from the jury while being interviewed, but that is a full blog post by itself. I need to get caught up with the exciting adventures of Keri — I know where it is and I’ll need to start over at the beginning. I hope to be back blogging regularly soon.

  3. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that
    I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll
    be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

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