Thursday, December 6, 2012

St. Nicholas Day.

Happy feast day to one and all! If any of you are looking for a reason to eat chocolate, or sugar cookies, or drink hot cider, or perhaps even mulled wine - if you dwell in a cold enough climate - then look no farther. Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas, and all the aforementioned goodies are traditionally partaken of on this day.

I have mentioned before on this blog, that I have a special affection for St. Nicholas. I like saints will a lot of character, and St. Nicholas was certainly that. What I particularly like about him, is that he is a complex, very human saint. I suppose the majority of the saints must be, but it comes through with particular clarity where St. Nicholas is concerned. He showed remarkable holiness from a young age. He endured imprisonment and torture for his Faith during the persecution of Diocletian. He was renowned as a wonder-working in his own lifetime. He performed great acts of kindness and charity to the poor and suffering. He was, in short, a very good, kind, holy man, who was much loved during his life time. However, he was also a staunch defender of truth and the right, who had a very low tolerance for falsehood. He also had a temper, as the story of St. Nicholas at the Council of Nicea shows.

It is a common misconception that that goodness and holiness are rather passive and boring. Nothing could be further from the case, as anyone who has ever tried to be truly good will tell you. There is nothing passive at all in performing good works, in praying when one would rather not, in staying true to a moral code, when it would be much easier to compromise, in putting God and others before yourself.  Goodness, and holiness are intensely active. Like soldiers locked in furious battle, one must give all and stand firm, for if any ground is given, it will lead to a route. The life of St. Nicholas is a perfect example of holiness that was anything but boring. He was a man who was fiercely good, and it was his uncompromising holiness that led to his legendary sympathy and goodness to other.

St. Nicholas is one of the most popular saints in the history of the Church. His feast day is celebrated all over the world. Here is a Slavonic carol in honour of him. (Listen past the English translation at the beginning. It is catchy.)

And here is my all time favourite Santa Claus picture, partly because it us just so darn Christmasy and cosy, but mostly because his study is absolutely packed with all sorts of bric a brac alluding to the life of St. Nicholas, and his role as gift-giver in various cultures around the world. I would love to poke around that room!


Jack said...

It is interesting learning more about him!

Anonymous said...

Lalalalalala!! St. Nicholas was BRILLIANT! And I love St. Nicholas Day. So much AMAZINGNESS!

that song was really fun and that is the cutest pic ever. One of my favorites too.
God Bless