Wednesday, December 14, 2011

St. Nick's Example Parallels the Advent of Jesus Christ

Guest blogger Scott Higginbotham dares to reflect on St Nick and what his life can add to the Christmas story.

Santa Claus is the stuff of legends. His stories make kids wide-eyed, fills them with dreams, and gives them that mental kick to be good. At least for a month! For too many, they grow up not knowing the true story of Saint Nicholas and miss his example and what informed his generosity.

Nicholas was a fourth century orphan in what is now Turkey, but was left with a substantial inheritance. He used this money to bless the lives of others, chiefly children. Moreover, he used his means and exercised his religious convictions in astounding ways, later becoming the Bishop of Myra and attending the Council of Nicaea.

He was a real person who lived his faith in practical ways, and initially shunned the spotlight. It has been said that, "The doors of his house were open to all. He was kind and affable to all, to orphans he was a father, to the poor a merciful giver, to the weeping a comforter, to the wronged a helper, and to all a great benefactor."1

Called the Wonderworker, Saint Nicholas followed Christ’s example. Our ransoms have been paid, and seeing how Christ-inspired kindness manifests through frail humanity makes His sacrifice more clear:

“Legend has it that Saint Nicholas became aware of a desperately poor parishioner having three daughters with no dowry to recommend them for marriage. The father had planned to sell them into prostitution to provide some means of support. By night, Saint Nicholas secretly brought bags of gold on three separate occasions to the man’s home. These generous visitations allowed the three daughters to have sufficient means to avoid whoredom and later strike a marriage covenant. On the third visit to deliver the gift, Nicholas was caught in the act of generosity by the grateful father.”2

Do we need another Saint Nicholas? Indeed! Does his life inspire you to do a small part not only during this holiday season, but also throughout the year? I hope so. Does the story of a small baby, laying in a manger, who was sent to pay our ransoms and set us free, make this season just a touch brighter? I pray that it will.

The Advent of Jesus Christ ushered in the greatest gift of all. The snippets we know concerning Saint Nicholas’ life, point squarely back to the Savior.

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, NKJV)

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