Santa’s Day, Being There for Them

Today is Saint Nicholas’ Day. He is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker… the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of “Saint Nikolaos”.

In his most famous exploit, a poor man had three daughters but could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in absence of any other possible employment, would have to become prostitutes. Hearing of the poor man’s plight, Nicholas decided to help him, but being too modest to help the man in public (or to save the man the humiliation of accepting charity), he went to his house under the cover of night and threw three purses (one for each daughter) filled with gold coins through the window opening into the man’s house.
One version has him throwing one purse for three consecutive nights. Another has him throw the purses over a period of three years, each time the night before one of the daughters comes of age. Invariably, the third time the father lies in wait, trying to discover the identity of their benefactor. In one version the father confronts the saint, only to have Saint Nicholas say it is not him he should thank, but God alone. In another version, Nicholas learns of the poor man’s plan and drops the third bag down the chimney instead; a variant holds that the daughter had washed her stockings that evening and hung them over the embers to dry, and that the bag of gold fell into the stocking.

Some seventeen centuries down the lane, we may find few wonder-workers walking in the footsteps of Saint Nicholas. For instance Joey.

“My mother was a prostitute. If I had been her pimp, she would still be alive.” Now he is what so many women need. He has 7 ladies right now, down significantly from a couple of years ago. He has never slept with any of his ladies, nor ever laid a finger on them. That is not what they need him for. He is their protector. He is there to make sure that when they are done, they are able to walk away. He does not charge his ladies for his services. This is how he explains his job description

Besides Joeys’ generosity, I find that his wife has what it takes to deal with a rough reality: the great attitude of a selfless best friend to her man. This is the first ingredient in a marriage, the indicator of a noble soul. Social labels and stereotypes come and go, like fashion, only to be forgotten in the dust of time. However, good deeds, helping your neighbor in need, have the ability to triumph beyond great empires forgone in the days of yore. Same as the miracles performed by Saint Nicholas, benefactors and protectors are not just memories of folklore but they also continue to live in marriages like Joey’s.

Happy Santa Claus Day!

Artwork by John A. Hows from Christmas In Art And Song. New York: The Arundel Printing and Publishing Company, 1879.


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