Posted December 6, 2013

Today is the day we celebrate the life of St. Nicholas. (The real one– not the one who does commercials for Coke.)

First, I feel I have to say I’m not against the whole Santa Claus thing. There seems to be a lot of poo- throwing back and forth between Christian parents over the embracing or rejecting of Santa Claus. That is NOT what this post is about.

Second, I must remind you, that I was raised Southern Baptist and currently worship with the Nazarenes. So the obvious question is, (It’s one I get frequently) “What’s a nice Protestant like you doing celebrating the Saints’ Days?” (For the record I know many Protestants who celebrate the Saints’ Days. But in some denominations this is completely unheard of.) The short answer is (You’ll have to come over for a cup of tea at my kitchen table for the long answer.) I was in my mid 20s when I found my ecumenical family and it was wonderful! It was like finding long lost family members. I found I had Charismatic brothers and sisters who were really good at and listening to and acting on the words of the Holy Spirit. I found I had Catholic brothers and sisters who really understood that Jesus was God’s Logos and came to earth in a human body. In my Orthodox brothers and sisters I found I had a history. As a Christian I have a history that goes much farther back than the Reformation. History grounds us and gives us an identity. And in that history there is a great cloud of witnesses. People whose lives are witness to the changing power of God. People who have walked the ancient and good way and can teach me a thing or twelve.

This post is about a man we call Saint Nicholas.

“Nicholas was born to a wealthy family during the third century in Asia Minor, now Turkey. His parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic. Obeying Jesus’ words, Nicholas gave all that he had to the poor, the sick, and the suffering. Later when he was Bishop of Myra he became famous for these saintly deeds. He also suffered for his faith and was exiled and imprisoned under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians. After his release, Bishop Nicholas attended the Council of Nicea in AD 325. The anniversary of his death, December 6th, became a feast day of celebration.”

“He gave all he had to the poor, the sick, the suffering.”

There may be no better Saint to celebrate during the Advent Season that has morphed into Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Lord, you make this day special
with the memory of the good bishop Nicholas.
He praised you in all the wonders he worked,
he thanked you in all the gifts he shared with the poor.
May we have ears like Saint Nicholas to hear when any are in need,
and hands always ready to help and share.
Blessed are you, O Lord, in all your saints.

-from A Book of Family Prayer by Gabe Huck

What way can you and your family follow in the footsteps of St. Nicholas this weekend?
In what ways are you helping your children to know their history, their good and long history? (If you haven’t ever celebrated Saints’ Days, St. Nicholas is a great place to start. 

The web site www.stnicholascenter.org is gratefully acknowledged for much of the information above. Please visit their site for more great ideas.

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