Aardvark Alley

Lutheran Aardvark

Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

06 December 2005
  + Nicholas of Myra +
6 December AD 326

Saint NicholasSaint Nicholas of Myra, Pastor and Bishop — Of the many saints recognized by the Christian Church, Nicholas is one of the most widely commemorated. However, very little is known historically of him, although there was a church of Saint Nicholas in Constantinople as early as the sixth century. Research affirms that there was a bishop by the name of Nicholas in the city of Myra in Lycia (part of Turkey today) in the fourth century.

From that coastal location, legends about Nicholas have traveled across time and distance. He is associated with charitable giving in many countries around the world and is portrayed as the rescuer of sailors, the protector of children, and the friend of people in distress or need. In commemoration of "Sinterklaas" (Dutch for "Klaus of the Cinders," or, in English, Santa Claus), 6 December is a day for giving and receiving gifts in many parts of Europe.

See the article at Ask the Pastor for details about the most famous apocryphal story told about him and related information on his patronage and "transformation" into the American Santa Claus. There you'll learn about his connection with money lending and his patron saint status for pawnbrokers.

Lection

Psalm 78:3-7 or 145:8-13
1 John 4:7-14
Mark 10:13-16

Collect

O Lord, let your continual mercy enkindle in your church the unfailing gift of charity, that, following the example of your servant Nicholas of Myra, we may have grace to deal in generosity and love with children and with all who are poor and distressed, and to uphold the cause of those who have no helper; for the sake of Him who gave His life for us, Your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
 
Comments:
He looks like George Carlin.
 
I posted some thoughts over at the Cross+Wise blog on the whole "Santa Claus" debate.

In many ways, what's happened to Santa Claus is symptomatic of what's happening in churches. The gift of the Gospel is often turned into Law. Our gift of forgiveness is predicated upon our good behavior. Naughty Christians don't get Gospel gifts. It's no wonder our Santa Claus story has become so weighed down with moralism; our Christ story has become that way, too.

I usually try not to be so shamelessly self-promoting of my blog posts, but I thought maybe the Aardvark wouldn't see it if I didn't say something, since it's been so long since I posted there. I don't expect an Aardvark link -- just want the Aardvark's feedback!
 
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