The Parish Magazine December 2021


Serving the communities of Charvil, Sonning, & Sonning Eye since 1869

The Parish Magazine - December 2021 23


cholas in Turkey

iting St Andrew's


Santa Claus...Kris Kringle...Père Noël...Ded Moroz

...Papa Noel...Babbo Natale...Weihnachtsmann...

Papai Noel...Gwiazdor...Święty Mikołaj...Dziadek

Mróz...Father Christmas...

. . . or do they mean Saint Nicholas?

It's the time of year for that very mysterious man in red to appear with his splendid white beard and sack

full of gifts for the children. Around the world he has many different names, some of which are listed above.

When translated into English we find the mysterious

man in red is called names such as: Daddy Christmas,

The Starman, Father Christmas, Christmas Man,

Grandfather Frost, Santa Claus and perhaps most

strangely of all, Christ Child, or Kris Kringle.

It may have been this name, Kris Kringle, that a

few years ago led to an unusual Christmas decoration

in a shop in China. It had the mysterious man

in red with his splendid white beard but he

was nailed to a cross!

Whatever this mysterious man is

called, his original name can always be

traced back to a real person who today

we know as St Nicholas. For example,

Santa Claus, a popular name in the US

is derived from St Nicholas — German

and Dutch immigrants to America

took with them their names of Sinter

Klass and Sankt Nicklas and these

evolved into Santa Claus which,

like many American words, is now

commonly used throughout the


St Nicholas was born about 260AD

to wealthy parents living in Patara

— today it is part of Turkey.

Nicholas became a Christian

and when he inherited the

family fortune he seems to

have followed the advice

of Jesus who, according to

the Gospel accounts of

of Matthew,

Mark and

Luke, told

a rich son

Tom Farncombe

to give away his wealth and follow him. Nicholas gave

all he owned to the poor and devoted his life to the

church. It was clearly not an easy life to choose but

he became a Bishop in Myra where it is said that he

was persecuted for his faith and imprisoned by the

Roman emperor, Diocletian.

Despite this, or maybe because of it, he continued

to be held in high esteem by the church. At the age

of about 65 Bishop Nicholas became a member of the

First Council of Nicaea, a body that was responsible

for writing the Creed that Christians around the

world still use today.

Bishop Nicholas died, aged about 83, in 343AD.

Soon after legendry stories of his generosity emerged

around the world and he was venerated in all

churches that recognise saints. From these legends

evolved the many different names that he has today.

It was in Victorian times in the UK that St

Nicholas became the basis for the Father Christmas

that we all know and love today.

In the Western world, the feast day for St Nicholas

is usually 6 December, and the day before is often

called the Eve of St Nicholas.

In some traditions St Nicholas Eve is when

children leave a shoe or a boot in front of the fireplace

or by the front door, hoping to find it filled with gifts

from St Nicholas in the morning.

This year, St Nicholas Eve falls appropriately

on Sunday 5 December, the day that St Andrew's is

holding a family service at 10.30am and during which

the Christmas tree is lit and the Nativity Scene is

put on show. It is also the time that the young and

old bring gifts, toys and money which are donated

to the Reading Family Aid 'Toys and Teens' Appeal.

Last year the appeal resulted in 1,401 disadvantaged

children in the Reading area receiving a Christmas

gift. This year, they already have a list of 2,500

children in need so their target for donations is even

greater than ever.

On hand to receive your gifts and toys at the

service will be a special visitor who is always welcome

— none other than St Nicholas!

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