I read a blog by Peter Enns, a Christian scholar. A recent post of his helped me understand St. Nicholas as a philanthropist and the individual who likely inspired gift giving at Christmas. Pretty cool. This is from Peter Enns' post:
Nicholas was born in the 3rd century in Asia Minor. He used his entire inheritance to help the poor, sick, and children in need. He gave in secret, expecting nothing in return. He attended the Council of Nicea in AD 325. Greatly loved for his faith, compassion and care, he is venerated in both East and West.
Let that sink in. He gave his entire inheritance to help the sick and the pool. He was on mission. He was a Mother Teresa and then some. Imagine what he would think of what his name now stands for?
I love that Christmas is a time when charities are visible in the community. Let's hope our Christmas appeals, and what they stand for, restore luster to this good saint's name.