Readings for St Nicholas Bishop of Myra, c. 342
“People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them.” (Mark 10:13)
I never knew that Santa Clause derived from an actual bishop. I had heard the term “St. Nick” before but didn’t connect it to the religious life. That was my childhood and early life. “Very little is known about the life of Nicholas, except that he suffered torture and imprisonment during the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian. It is possible that he was one of the bishops attending the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325. He was honored as a saint in Constantinople in the sixth century by the Emperor Justinian. His veneration became immensely popular in the West after the supposed removal of his body to Bari, Italy, in the late eleventh century. In England, almost 400 churches were dedicated to him. Nicholas is famed as the traditional patron of seafarers and sailors, and, more especially, of children. As a bearer of gifts to children, his name was brought to America by the Dutch colonists in New York, from whom he is popularly known as Santa Claus.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for December 6)
In our Gospel reading parents wanted their children to go to Jesus. They wanted the best for their children. Christian parents today still bring their children to our Lord Jesus. We do this by bringing them to church but more importantly, we should be praying with them at home. When a child comes to church it should be from a home where they have already heard about our Lord Jesus. We so often talk about Santa Claus from about Thanksgiving on before finally bringing the child to a store to meet Santa. So why not talk about our Lord Jesus at least some time during each week before Sunday?
Personally, I like learning about Nicholas of Myra because as a Christian believing in the Resurrection I know that Nicholas has risen in our Lord Jesus Christ and lives today. So I believe in Santa Claus because I believe in the Resurrections of the dead. Or, as James Kiefer puts it: “The story of St. Nicholas offers a possible way of dealing with the “Santa Claus” problem, to parents who do not want to lie to their children, even in fun, but do not want to say simply: “Bah, humbug! There is no such thing as Santa. Forget about him.” by James Kiefer http://www.satucket.com/lectionary/Nicholas.htm
So today is Santa Claus Day even while it is still Advent. Merry (almost) Christmas.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+