The story goes that during the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325) there was a debate over the divinity of Christ. Arius, a heretical bishop, was teaching that Christ was not divine, but rather just a creature. The council challenged Arius to defend his claims in front of his brother bishops, including jolly old St. Nicholas.
St. Nicholas tried to listen patiently but he considered Arius’ proposal so radical, so heretical, that he could no longer contain himself. In the middle of Arius’ speech, St. Nicholas rose with a scowl, charged toward Arius, and slapped him in the face!
The mental image of Santa Claus slapping Arius on the floor of the Council of Nicea with Emperor Constantine looking on has to fundamentally change the way one would ever see Santa Claus again. While we might not agree with his method, we certainly admire St. Nicholas’ passion for Christological doctrinal purity. We might not be going round punching heretics, but we should still be passionate about speaking the truth about Christ and making sure everyone knows the truth about Him!
Theology is important. St. Nicholas knew it too.