The Symbol Of Santa

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

242px-Nikola_from_1294Before we commercialized and infantilized every aspect of our culture, we used to understand the power of symbols. Our government was regarded as a benevolent uncle named Sam bidding us to do our part. Our soaring strength and spirit of ever climbing higher was embodied in an eagle. A bell in Philadelphia announced to the world that while our society was far from perfect it remained free of the Old World’s pretenses and encumbrances. A statue in a harbor welcomed even the wretched to a land promising both opportunity and hard work. Symbols define our ideals about life, desires, and even ourselves.

And regardless of your religious affiliation or if you have none at all, the symbol of Christmas remains one of life’s enduring icons of what is best in all of us. The holiday is personified by a fourth century clergyman, Nicholas, bishop of Myra. Myra lay in the Roman province of Lycia in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey).  Almost nothing is known about Nicholas except that he was born sometime around 260 CE and died after 333 CE. Most of his good works in Lycia are obscure and his piety is presumed but never verified. He stands as a part of history based on one story told and retold throughout the centuries.

In his capacity as bishop, Nicholas became aware of a man living in the City of Patara. Once a wealthy and influential member of the community, the man had fallen on hard times and could not provide even the basics of life. Blessed with three daughters, the man knew he would never be able to pay the dowries that would permit the young women to be properly married and assume their places in polite society. In that culture being unable to marry meant more than just a life of hard labor in the fields; it usually meant prostitution for young girls. Distraught the man turned every stone to improve his situation but all to no avail.

Hearing of the plight, Nicholas resolved to do something about it. Whether based on religious prescription or his own benevolent intuitions, the prelate decided to provide direct aid to the man by tossing a small bag of gold through his open window during the early hours of the morning and thus avoid further embarrassment for the man. Nicholas returned night after night to add to the man’s dowries but, finding the window inexplicably locked on the third night, dropped the gold down the chimney where it landed in a wet stocking  that was drying by the dying embers.

There was good reason for the locked window after all as the occupant was waiting for the good bishop after he clamored down off the roof. Learning at last who his benefactor really was, the man promised to let everyone know about the kindness of the Christian bishop. Nicholas would have none of it and had the man promise never to tell anyone about what had happened. That promise was likely not fulfilled.

Saint Nicholas of the Roman Church has come to define all that we admire about charity — generosity of spirit, selflessness, and a genuine regard and understanding of the sometimes intolerable plight of our fellow man.   It is true religion and that is what many of us will honor on Tuesday.

God Bless us — every one.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Source: CNN

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

72 thoughts on “The Symbol Of Santa”

  1. This post is very informative especially to those who want to know what the true history of St. Nick is–a good read on Christmas Eve. Thanks for this post! Merry Christmas!

  2. This post is very informative especially to those who have been wanting to know what the true history of St. Nick–a good read on Christmas eve. Thank you for this post! Merry Christmas!

  3. Google it Humpin dog. She died a matyr in ME. Here she wears a white robe eith a long red sash symbolizing her blood spilled. She wears a crown of wreath made with winter green plants, topped with six (?) liit candles.

    Her song, which opens the ceremony in schools, hospitals homes for the older, and for the Nobel prize winners, is a beatfiful mysterious one in solemn cadence: She is accompanied by white clad “virgins and “star boy with pointed caps who all sing in chorus. It is done when darkness reigns and her light is very symbolic and the whole is beloved here.

    Am sure you can find a good one of YouTube.

  4. Woosty’s video post was disturbing.
    Thet the arrested had no right to be informed of the charge.
    That there could be seen no evidence from earlier bystanders that he had committed a crime.
    That one older policeman went around video filming bystanders at close facial range. This implies that the informtion was recorded ´not only for face recognition but for iriis identification. Since they were not registered by name and address this will still be used for investigtive purposes as eye camera use will spread in the cities.

    Good luck folks.

  5. Jesus was born years earlier than thought, claims Pope
    The entire Christian calendar is based on a miscalculation, the Pope has declared, as he claims in a new book that Jesus was born several years earlier than commonly believed.

    The Pope also weighs in on the debate over Christ’s birthplace Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
    By Nick Squires, Rome
    4:02PM GMT 21 Nov 2012
    2321 Comments
    The ‘mistake’ was made by a sixth century monk known as Dionysius Exiguus or in English Dennis the Small, the 85-year-old pontiff claims in the book ‘Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives’, published on Wednesday.

    “The calculation of the beginning of our calendar – based on the birth of Jesus – was made by Dionysius Exiguus, who made a mistake in his calculations by several years,” the Pope writes in the book, which went on sale around the world with an initial print run of a million copies.

    “The actual date of Jesus’s birth was several years before.”

    The assertion that the Christian calendar is based on a false premise is not new – many historians believe that Christ was born sometime between 7BC and 2BC.

    But the fact that doubts over one of the keystones of Christian tradition have been raised by the leader of the world’s one billion Catholics is striking.

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    Dennis the Small, who was born in Eastern Europe, is credited with being the “inventor” of the modern calendar and the concept of the Anno Domini era.

    He drew up the new system in part to distance it from the calendar in use at the time, which was based on the years since the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian.

    The emperor had persecuted Christians, so there was good reason to expunge him from the new dating system in favour of one inspired by the birth of Christ.

    The monk’s calendar became widely accepted in Europe after it was adopted by the Venerable Bede, the historian-monk, to date the events that he recounted in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which he completed in AD 731.

    But exactly how Dennis calculated the year of Christ’s birth is not clear and the Pope’s claim that he made a mistake is a view shared by many scholars.

    The Bible does not specify a date for the birth of Christ. The monk instead appears to have based his calculations on vague references to Jesus’s age at the start of his ministry and the fact that he was baptised in the reign of the emperor Tiberius.

    Christ’s birth date is not the only controversy raised by the Pope in his new book – he also said that contrary to the traditional Nativity scene, there were no oxen, donkeys or other animals at Jesus’s birth.

    He also weighs in on the debate over Christ’s birthplace, rejecting arguments by some scholars that he was born in Nazareth rather than Bethlehem.

    John Barton, Professor of the Interpretation of the Holy Scripture at Oriel College, Oxford University, said most academics agreed with the Pope that the Christian calendar was wrong and that Jesus was born several years earlier than commonly thought, probably between 6BC and 4BC.

    “There is no reference to when he was born in the Bible – all we know is that he was born in the reign of Herod the Great, who died before 1AD,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “It’s been surmised for a very long time that Jesus was born before 1AD – no one knows for sure.”

    The idea that Christ was born on Dec 25 also has no basis in historical fact. “We don’t even know which season he was born in. The whole idea of celebrating his birth during the darkest part of the year is probably linked to pagan traditions and the winter solstice.”

    BarkinDog is gonna celebrate Xmas on the 25th and Christ;s Birthday on July 4th. That is playing some safe bets.

  6. Woosty:

    That situation was pathetic. I read the Criminal Mischief Section, and under Texas law they had probable cause to arrest the man, but my god, if there was ever a case of using a little discretion this was one of them. It would have been a lot better to just tell them to wipe off the writings when they were done and call it good.

  7. Woosty

    there’s a couple of leo’s that’ll be getting reindeer scat in their stockings this year.

  8. Guys,
    When I interview new hires for law enforcement agencies, I have a standard speech I give them. I usually show them two or three YouTube videos like this one. Then warn them that if they do something that makes them the star of a YouTube video, it will make me look bad, and I will not hesitate to jerk their certification as an LEO in a heartbeat.

  9. Mark, your article was incorporated into this morning’s 5th grade Bible study:

    I asked the kids what are some of the things your first think of when you her the word “Christmas,” and one of the answers was Santa Clause. So I ask what do you know about Santa Clause?

    From the three smallest and sweetest girls in the class, one after the other —

    “He’s kinda creepy. He has a watch list.”

    “And he breaks into people’s houses.”

    “And he watches you sleep.”

    Oh, my goodness! Santa, the Perv. How scary has the world become for kids?

    I followed up with the story of Saint Nicholas and a video a the scripture reading from A Charlie Brown Christmas. No way can I do it as well as Linus.

  10. The dogpack is gonna pick a day in mid July and celebrate Christ’s real birthday. We are calling it CBD. Santa wont fall down the chimney, Macy’s wont have no sales, stockings wont get stuffed, reindeer will be resting in the fields, and kids wont be saying no prayers for presents. Nope. We will be giving thanks for two thousand thirteen years of evolution and darwinian development of the dog species. Further schmuckma I will not elaborate on at this time of year.
    But one more question for the blogsters. If humanoids of christian faith date our years from the time of his death then why is new years day just a week or so after Christ’s wrongly cited birthday. If it is A.D. then why is not New Years Day the day of his hanging on the cross? Or are we Seventh Day Adventists?
    These things are confusing. Just a dog thinking out loud here.

  11. I am glad that someone pointed out the Common Era thing. A.D. was getting a bit old. And B.C. Before Christmas is a bit much. The other day there was a sign saying “B.C. Sale!” at Macy’s. I had to explain to some kid that it was BarkinDog’s Customer Sale. He did not want to listen to a dog. I did not have the education to explain Common Era. C.E. Clearly Erotic. I show my ignorance every day on this blog. By doing so I point out the errors of your ways– you humanoids that is. Dogs who read this blog are err less. or E.L.

  12. I was taught that “BC” was “before Christ,” that AD was “Anno Domini” meaning “in the year of our Lord [thus counting years since the birth of Christ]” and that BCE and CE were, respectively, “before common era” and “common era,” respectively. So when they dug up those coins with pictures of faces on them and the date stamped “412 BC” I knew they were fakes!

  13. TonyC,

    As it is now, we end up putting too high an emphasis and expectations on this season. We are not ourselves and others are full of the “spirit” and expectations. It provides opportunities for old grievances to come up, hopes being smashed, etc.

    We should practice more often. Once was according to some American dreams was Sunday dinner together and afterwards. What has replaced that on the mass menu; Sunday football or what?

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