Millions of people around the world are familiar with Santa Claus, or at least their culture's version of the Christmas figure, but far fewer are familiar with the Saint upon which the legend is founded, Nicholas of Myra, a devout follower of Jesus Christ who lived in the 3rd century. People may even speak of "Saint Nick" or without realizing the historical reference they are making. So who was Saint Nicholas?
Although some details of Nicholas' life are fragmentary, some facts about it may be established. Nicholas was born on March 15, 270 A.D. in the city of Patara, which was located in modern-day Turkey, upon the Mediterranean Sea. Patara in this day was infused with Greek culture.
Nicholas was an only child, born to devout Christian parents. When his parents died from disease, Nicholas was given to his uncle, who was the bishop of Patara. This uncle influenced him to devote his life to serving others in the name of Christ.
Saint Nicholas' Christian Service
Nicholas was a participant in a very important moment in Christian history. As a clergyman, he participated in the famous Council of Nicea.  Nicholas was opposed to Arius’ theological contentions, which was that Jesus Christ was created and not divine. Nicholas was a signer of one of the most famous statements in the 2,000-year history of the Church, which is called the Nicene Creed. The belief statement reads,
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.