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The Feast Day of Saint Nicholas | Waiting Still Day 6

The Feast of Saint Nicholas
Day Six | Waiting Still

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas.
I want my children to know his story.
I want them to know his is different
from the Coke can Claymation Santa Claus,
which is a fine story they can cherish,
but cherish, I hope, because it is inspired
by Nicholas’ love and generosity.

He was born in the third century
in what is present-day Turkey.
It was Greece at the time.
His parents were wealthy and Christian.

Side note. This was a time when
the Christian Movement was still marginalized
by the Roman Empire — not yet assimilated
and corrupted by it, though that
assimilation would begin in force
during Nicholas’ lifetime
as he was a contemporary of Constantine.

Anyways, it’s said that when his parents died
he gave his inheritance to those in need
within his community.

It’s said, too, that he often did this in secret,
like he did in the legend of Nicholas
and the poor man’s daughters.
Nicholas knew of a father who did not have a dowry
for his three daughters. Likely they would
end up as sex workers just to survive.
So, Nicholas, under the cover of darkness
visited their home on three consecutive nights
dropping a bag of gold coins
each time through the window.
Enough to pay the dowry of each daughter.

Up on the housetop. Click, click, click.
Down through the chimney with Good St. Nick.

I hope we come to know this way of Nicholas
deep in our bones — this way of self-giving,
self-fulfilling love for one another –
for our community.

I sense our acts of service and charity now
are seeds that will grow into
powerful and life-sustaining
ways of being in the near future — a future
that will look much like the past –
like Nicholas’ time, when the distance between
the haves and have nots was so great.
As the climate becomes more unstable,
and as our broken systems continue to favor
the ones who already hoard the most,
no doubt, the Spirit of Saint Nicholas
will be a necessary guide and aid.

I will pray with Nicholas today
for the courage to come to know
my community more deeply.
That we would be close enough to care
for one another in our times of need.
That we would listen deeply
to each other and to Earth,
responding to needs generously,
receiving help graciously,
and feasting together joyfully.

Happy Saint Nicholas Day

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