Saturday, December 06, 2008

Happy St. Nicholas Day

Lord, like your servant Nicholas,
make us hold loosely to our material wealth
and instead be generous with our gifts for the good of others.
Grant us a passion for Your PURE word,
so that we expose those who deliberately try to mislead or misrepresent
Your Gospel for their own benefit.
Give us so much faith that You can do things through us that are totally disproportionate to anything we would be capable of without you.
And give us a heart for the poor, for the oppressed and the weak.
And as much as we admire and celebrate his example,
remind us to keep Jesus at the center of Christmas, just as Santa would.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The "jolly old elf" we know as Santa Claus, is, in fact, Saint Nicholas, a fourth century bishop of the city of Myra in what is now Turkey. Nick was passionate about his faith. He attended the council of Nicaea (as in Nicaean Creed) and is said to have punched out a guy (Arius) for trying to argue false doctrines. The story says that the other bishops at Nicea were shocked at such rude behavior and defrocked the clergyman. But then Jesus appeared to them, standing next to Nicholas, so restored him to his office.

Supposedly, Nicholas was born to a wealthy family in Patara, Lycia. His parents died, and he inherited a considerable sum of money, but he kept none of it. In the most famous story about his life, he threw bags of gold through the windows of three girls about to be forced into lives of prostitution.

One legend held that, like the prophets Elija & Elisha, God used Nicholas to raise people from the dead- children who had been murdered, as the legend goes. But the important thing is that Nicholas didn't seek fame for himself, but wanted only to serve his Lord Jesus.

Saint Nicholas was renowned for his great kindness and his generous aid to those in distress. Among the kind and miraculous acts attributed to him are saving three young girls from prostitution by secretly providing them with dowries, and saving sailors caught in stormy seas. He is considered the patron saint of children, unmarried girls, and sailors, among others.

Click here: to read some of my Columns from 2002,-2007! INCLUDING my annual "interviews" with Santa Claus (St. Nicholas)!

Visit to find out more about the historical Nicholas, and the world-wide cultural phenomenon.

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