Archive for December 13th, 2013

It is the season of Saint Nick and he is everywhere.images-3

So, Santa is everywhere at this season of the year, and he is not new, and not North American. The story of Saint Nick goes back to the fourth century. In various times and his name has been Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, Père Noël and Saint Nicholas.

I admit that, as a Christian parent, it is not always an easy thing to try to empathize the birth of Christ, while at the same time all the world around me shouts of Santa Claus. It is a very difficult thing to try to teach of the greater value of the eternal gifts that Jesus brings while Santa Clause brings Barbie and Lego. Hubby and I have agonized over how to deal with Santa Claus in the life of our family.

When speaking with a teacher friend recently, she shared what she had been dealing with in her kindergarten classroom; two children who did not believe in Santa Claus, and whose mission it was to cast all those who did into a fiery pit. I have to say, her experience confirmed for me that the middle ground perspective on ‘the Claus’ that hubby and I chose to take was a wise one!

For us we chose to neither encourage nor discourage the belief in Santa Claus, just like we neither encouraged nor discouraged the belief in the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Narnia, Secret Garden, or Fairy Tales. Those magical things, places and people take us to delightful, wonder-filled fictitious escapes into our imaginations that help us to grow and develop with with ability to dream.

But, Saint Nicholas was not a fictitious character, he was a very real person.

Saint Nicholas was a Greek Christian bishop in modern day Turkey in the 4th century. He was known for giving extensively to the poor, to children. His most famous gift is believed to be to a family with three daughters. The family was terribly poor and had no financial way to provide dowries for their three daughters of marrying age. Such a situation could result in these three young ladies being forced into slavery, prostitution. The story goes that Nicholas reached his hand into a window of the house, leaving enough money for the three to have dowries to marry. The story further goes that the money fell into stockings that were hanging by the window to dry … yet another rational for the tradition of Christmas stockings.

Although Nicholas was never officially canonized (the process that the Roman Catholic Church utilizes to recognize it’s saints), the day of the Feast day of St. Nicholas (December 6) continues. Much more can be read about Saint Nicholas.

To believe in him is delightful childhood, to know of the God-loving man behind the beard is essential for the imagination to take root, and blossom into putting that faith into our own works of love for others.


“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can faith save him?
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them,
“Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,”
but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.”
Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?
Do you see that faith was working together with his works,
and by works faith was made perfect?

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says,
“Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
And he was called the friend of God.
You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works
when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
James 2:14-26

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