December 6, 2010

St. Nicholas: Connecting the Past and the Present

St. Nicholas stopped by our church last night.

Although today is the feast day for the bishop, our church celebrated his vigil on Sunday evening with crafts, cookie decorating and lots of young kids squealing and chasing each other around the tables.

St. Nicholas made his grand entrance, and the room stopped. Eyes widened. A few toddlers cried. A sister taunted a brother : “I told you he was watching. You better be nice to me.”

Children (and a few adults) climbed on the old bishop’s lap, and they talked about the year – the good, the bad, and the hoped-for. St. Nicholas presented each comer with a brown paper sack of goodies – chocolate coins, nuts, and an orange. The kids were as pleased with that as Ralphie with his Red Ryder BB gun in A Christmas Story.

There’s something wonderful about celebrating St. Nicholas Day. It feels simpler, with enough distance from the Christmas morning toy explosion to talk about the kindness and compassion exemplified in the life of this saint.

There's the story of Nicholas providing a dowry for three young women to keep them from a life of poverty or slavery and the legend of the saint as a protector of young children and savior from famine.

We know that Nicholas was part of the first Council of Nicaea, which laid the foundation for the Nicene Creed that we recite each Sunday, some 1,685 years later.

In this period of expectation and waiting, St. Nicholas provides another reminder of the virtues that connect our church and people through the ages.

How will you honor the life of St. Nicholas today?

Related posts and resources:

  • St. Nicholas: Goody2Shoes - St. Paul's Church is hosting a particularly engaging event for the celebration of St. Nicholas – one that both is playful and joyful (even jolly!).