If you know anything about Santa Claus, you know that one of his names is St. Nick. That’s because the modern day Santa character was fashioned after a real guy by the name of St. Nicholas. He lived from 270 AD to 343 AD.
If you weren’t aware, St. Nicholas was a follower of Christ. The stories that are told from his life are quite epic and are way better than flying reindeer and magical snow globes. Just google his name and you’ll discover quite the collection of legends and traditions surrounding the guy.
I just discovered another story that made me like St. Nick even more. He was a heretic puncher (or slapper depending on the version of the story that’s told). The jolly ol’ guy apparently had no patience for anyone defaming Jesus.
Sounds like my kind of guy.
Here’s the story to read for your self:
One of the most interesting stories connected with him was his role during the Arian controversy. St. Methodius asserted that “thanks to the teaching of St. Nicholas the metropolis of Myra alone was untouched by the filth of the Arian heresy, which it firmly rejected as death-dealing poison.”
Arianism was declared heresy at the Council of Nicaea. Arius, of course, asserted, contra John 1:1, that the Word [Jesus] was a created being and had not existed from all eternity.
One weak tradition has him actually attending the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, when Arian doctrine was rejected. The story goes that he got into a heated debate with Arius himself about whether there was a time when the Word did not exist. Nicholas strongly disagreed.
The debate ended suddenly when Nicholas punched out Arius then and there on the floor of the council! This gives new meaning to the ditty: “He’s making a list and checking it twice, he’s going to find out who’s naughty or nice!”
Don’t mess with Jesus… because St. Nick is watching. 🙂