Thursday, December 6, 2018

Happy St. Nick's!

The Real Santa Claus
One of the wonderful things about being an Orthodox Christian parent is that at this time of year I get to declare with full confidence that Santa Claus is real. Go read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas again. While the physical description may very well conform to our modern conception of the guy in the red suit, he is referred to as St. Nick.

In the Orthodox Church, St. Nicholas is held up to be the exemplar of what it means to be a bishop. Hymns are sung about him all year long and he is one of the most popular saints in the Orthodox world.

Many of the Christmas traditions associated with Santa Claus we have today are actually in memory of real events from this great bishop's life. For example, we hang stockings above the fireplace because he was know to sneak into the night to place gold into the stockings of those in need. Specifically, he overheard a poor man lament that his daughters would be better off as slaves because he had no dowery money to marry them off. To prevent this, St. Nicholas secretly provided those dowries by placing gold in the daughters' stockings as they were drying over the fire.

So, today on this the Feast of St. Nicholas, I wanted to share a cool dad moment related to St. Nick. Yesterday, as my eldest was confirming that we were going to celebrate a liturgy for the feast, she related to me her favorite story from the life of St. Nicholas: she smiled as she said, "When he slapped Arius!"

For those who don't know, Arius was the heretic that held that Christ was created and was the impetus for the First Ecumenical Council, of which St. Nicholas was an attendee. In an attempt to snap Arius out of his delusion, the great bishop tried to slap him back into his senses.

Can you tell we play D&D in this house?


JB said...

It's a kinder, gentler age that we live in...sad though that might be at times (we all have times where a little slapping might be good for us).
; )

Fuzzy Skinner said...

I'm reminded of a saying that "good" doesn't necessarily mean "weak" or "nice". :D