“The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic God’s giving by grace, through faith, and this not of ourselves.” Nicholas of Myra
Today, December 6, is the day we remember a faithful pastor that our modern story of Santa Claus is based upon. Nicholas of Myra was a model of generosity, love, and led a movement for the protection and provision for children that lasted for centuries. He was persecuted and imprisoned for his faith in Christ. He opposed heresies that sought to detract from the divinity of our LORD. He advocated and worked for the marginalized. However, he is most remembered for his love and ministry to children.
Once he rescued three sisters from being sold into prostitution after their father lost his fortune. He secretly threw in a bag of gold through the window of their home of the evening of the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. This story is where we get our tradition of giving in secret. We can use this story as an example to teach our children to give in secret because God knows the person we are giving to and loves them and so do we.
On another occasion the city of Myra was experiencing a severe famine When the Imperial Grain Ship made it’s way into harbor in route to Constantinople. Nicholas went to ask the the captain of a Roman Imperial Grain Ship to release a portion of the grain to prevent mass starvation. The captain replied that he couldn’t. The grain was measured and accounted for and his life depended upon delivering the cargo safely. Nicolas encouraged the captain to have faith in God that he would provide. The good captain courageously trusted God and gave the grain to Nicholas. Myra was not only saved but the people had grain to plant the next year from the leftovers. Miraculously when the captain and his crew arrived with the grain, the ship was found to have the amount of grain that had been taken on in Alexandria. We can use this story to teach our children of how God provides and increases our seed faith giving. (See 2 Corinthians 9)
Much of what we know about Nicholas has an admixture of legend and truth. What we do know is that he was known for his life of holiness, love, courage, and generosity. Also he probably didn’t look like the rotund fellow from A Night Before Christmas or the Coca-Cola advertisements.
Nicholas was mortal but Christ whom he served is immortal. The story of his good deeds for Christ live on and on, both here and in eternity. May we so live our lives for God’s glory by loving, serving, and giving!
“Go to sleep, Santa Claus will not come if you are awake.” With those words our parents would convince us to go to sleep each Christmas Eve at my grandparent’s house. There were times on those dark clear Southern nights I would look up in the skies hoping to catch a glimpse of sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer. My sisters and I were always looking forward to Santa’s visit. We were never disappointed. He left behind treasures and treats! Later in life, I would learn about the man that made a difference because of his courage, love, and faith in God.