As the Christmas season begins, we will hear a lot about Santa Claus. The character of Santa Claus was based on a real man named Nicholas. But Nicholas did not wear a red suit and fly with reindeer.
Nicholas lived in a place that is now part of Turkey. He was born in the town of Myra about 200 years after the birth of Jesus. At that time, Myra was part of the Roman Empire.
Nicholas grew up as an orphan after his parents died. As an adult, he became a Christian leader.
An evil Roman leader named Diocletian decided that Christians were bad people. Since Nicholas was a leader in the church, Roman officials sent him to jail. Other Christians also suffered in prison under Diocletian’s rule.
Later, an emperor named Constantine came to power, and he liked Christians. He freed Nicholas and other Christians from prison. Nicholas continued to help orphans and others in need.
During the Christmas season remember Christians who are still persecuted for their beliefs around the world today.
Read another story about Nicholas here.
The information above is from the book The Story of St. Nicholas: More Than a Reindeer and a Red Suit, by The Voice of the Martyrs with Cheryl Odden. To learn more about VOM’s resources for children, visit the resource page on this site.