Friday, December 6, 2013

St. Nick's Day!

Happy St. Nick's Day! December 6 is the day that jolly old St. Nick is celebrated. This tradition was introduced to me by my wife and her family. It is a lovely tradition where St. Nick visits to leave a small treat in your stocking if you were good. It also serves as a hint that you will be getting something under the tree for Christmas. It's very fun and a very nice tradition.

December 6?

Wait, you thought Santa Claus wasn't real? Ha! You're wrong. St. Nick was real. And, if you believe that the saints live on after they die (an almost unilateral belief among Christians), then he continues to be a real person. Speaking of his death, it is commemorated on St. Nick's day. He died on December 6, 345 (or 352) C.E. He is celebrated by both the Greek and Latin churches, and those who are conscious of Church History.

St. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra and endured persecution for his beliefs. He was not released from prison until the ascension of Constantine as emperor in 315 C.E.

But what did he do?

So we know that St. Nick was a hard-core Christian dude, not really some pudgy old guy with quirky, flying, red-nosed pets. But what did he contribute to Christianity that makes him so great?

I find it funny how amazed and confused people get when they see images of Santa Claus bowing to The Lord Jesus Christ. They feel a disconnect, which is understandable given the materialistic aura that currently shrouds Mr. Kringle. However, consider that his release from prison in 315 and earliest possible date of death at 345 C.E., added to his status as Bishop of Myra, he likely took part at a very important Church event in 325 C.E.

The Council of Nicea.

What's the big deal? As part of the Council of Nicea, Santa would have been part of the group that finalized the Nicean Creed. A little thing that goes like this:
We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance [ek tes ousias] of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of the same substance with the Father [homoousion to patri], through whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; who for us men and our salvation descended, was incarnate, and was made man, suffered and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven and cometh to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. Those who say: There was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten; and that He was made out of nothing (ex ouk onton); or who maintain that He is of another hypostasis or another substance [than the Father], or that the Son of God is created, or mutable, or subject to change, [them] the Catholic Church anathematizes.
I'd say that's as sound a statement of faith as you'll find anywhere.

But still, I like this guy.
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Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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