December 6 is St. Nicholas Day. That’s right! The fella we’ve come to know as Santa Clause is as real as you and me … And he was a fourth century bishop in a placed called Myra, which was a city in the place we now call Turkey.
St. Nicholas was known for his kindness and generosity to the poor. He is said to have come to the aid of poor families, once helping a poor man’s daughters by leaving bags of gold for them to use as dowries.
(Back in those days, money was a big part of marriage, and poor girls sometimes were overlooked because they had no dowry. This was very bad for them, and they would often live destitute lives because of it. This system was very, very bad; and women and girls around the world still live in similar conditions. Maybe we need some modern day St. Nicks? But that’s a story for another day.)
Nicholas was said to have given these gold bags in secret, in the middle of the night. Some said he dropped them down the chimney. Others said he left them in some freshly laundered stockings that were hung out to dry. Sound familiar?
Stories are told of Nicholas raising the dead through his prayers, and of his prayers and actions bringing about miraculous relief in times of famine.
Nicholas was also responsible (along with the other bishops of the Council of Nicea) for giving us the Nicene Creed, which firmly established the doctrine of the Incarnation, and the belief that Jesus Christ is not a created being, but one in being with the Father, the Son of God, truly both God and human in nature. This doctrine is the foundation of our Christian faith. The Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed are the two most commonly recited creeds in Christian worship. We recite them because they describe our faith in Jesus as the Son of God, the Incarnate Word, the Savior of the World.
Thanks be to God for St. Nicholas, wonder worker, friend of the poor, and defender of the faith!