With the Saints of the Holidays: Part II Saint Nicholas

“As I drew in my head and was turning around, down the chimney Saint Nicholas came with a bound…”  Clement Clarke Moore

John Bartram Kirk R. Brown
Before there was Santa Claus, there was St. Nick. Jolly, plump, elfin.
Saint Nicholas began his saintly life in what is now a province of Turkey.  His was an age that saw sweeping changes in the geo-political world of the Roman Empire.  It was during his term as Archbishop that Constantine the Great divided the empire between capitals in Rome and Constantinople.  Nick was at the crossroads of history.
 
Perhaps it’s why history has taken such great note of him. 
 
Saint Nick John Bartram
Saint Nicholas has been transformed by time and customs.

 

During his life, he is given credit for being a very nice guy:

He gave dowries to three girls who would otherwise have remained husbandless.  The three bags of gold that he dropped through their window (or down their chimney!) can still be seen today as iconic symbols outside any pawn shop door. 

He resurrected three young boys out of a vat of curing spices after they’d been slaughtered by a hungry local butcher.  Our own tradition of serving ham for the holidays might have started with that pork barrel.

He was responsible for taking by deception two years supply of wheat from a ship’s cargo meant for the emperor in Constantinople.  By miraculously replacing the grain, the sailors successfully delivered the measured cargo but the starving people of Myra had not only sustenance but seeds for spring planting.  This is a reason why he has become the patron saint of sailors.

For whatever reason, this man has become the icon of gift giving in a season of darkness.  His named has become synonymous with impulse we have to give until it hurts.  People even collect images of him hoping that more will be deposited on his journey around the world on Christmas Eve.

 

Santa Claus John Bartram Kirk R. Brown
A shrine to Saint Nicholas

 

He lives in a magical world of light and eternal happiness.  His journey is one that we would all emulate.  Whether he is named St. Nick, Sinterklaas, Santa Claus, Pere Noel, or Father Chrismas, he fills the world with joy.  Let us join with his goodness this holiday and welcome in the New Year with good cheer.

 

John Bartram Kirk R. Brown
The world would be a bluer place without Saint Nicholas!

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