Today is the day in which the church remembers Saint Nicholas of Myra, the third century Christian bishop in what is modern-day Turkey.
The Rev. Canon Jim Rosenthal (pictured above as St. Nicholas) has long been a proponent of better teaching about the real Nicholas. He created the St. Nicholas Center and you can see their Who is St. Nicholas web page for the short version and links for more information and ideas for how to celebrate the life of the saint.
The short version of the life of this Christian leader is that,
Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church.So one way we remember the real work of this ancient Christian is that each week we recite the Nicene Creed, created at the council in which Nicholas took part. There are also many legends about Nicholas, but in all of them we find, "a model for the compassionate life" in his generosity to those in need, especially children. But the myth of Nicholas has grown so large that it eclipses the Christ for whom the bishop was willing to die. I applaud efforts to help people get to know the real Saint Nicholas, but I don't see this changing our consumer-driven Christmas. Or am I being too cynical?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor