Today is Saint Nicholas Day, the day set aside by the ancient church to honor the life of Nicholas of Myra, a godly man who took the words of Jesus to heart. He inherited a large amount of money from his parents as a young man and used his means to help the poor and needy. He died on this day in 343 and is remembered as one whose life points to the Saviour.
I've always said that I would like to teach my children about the real Saint Nicholas and now my time has come! It's exciting for me to get to learn and teach all at the same time. And teaching a three year old really makes me have to find practical ways to demonstrate what we are learning. I've been trying to tell him how God blesses us not only so we can enjoy His gifts but so that we can share what He has given us with others. So this morning we baked cookies together for an upcoming outreach to the homeless in our community. It's so fun to watch Peregrine beginning to grasp these truths. I'm thankful for Saint Nicholas, and that instead of just ignoring Santa Claus we can teach our children about a real man who loved God and followed after Him. It is my prayer for myself and for my children that we, like Nicholas, would truly learn that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
"Almighty God, who in your love gave to your servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea: Grant, we pray, that your Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." (Contemporary Eastern Othodox Prayer)