Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Nicholas of Myra Part 2

As a child, his was a name I knew well.
Saint Nicholas of Myra.
My mother called him the"spirit of giving, which is the true meaning of x-mas."
Yet, until the past few years, with rare exceptions like myself, most people have never heard of Nicholas of Myra.
Nicholas of Myra. Better known as St. Nicholas.
Oh Santa Claus...
Ah, hmmmm....
Many believe that  St. Nicholas existed only in legend, without any reliable historical record. Or worse, made up by greedy merchants to make a killing during the x-mas season.
However, legends are usually created out of of real, actual events, though embellished to make more interesting stories.
 St. Nicholas is such a case. Many of the stories about this man are truths interwoven with imagination. However, the fact is Nicholas of Myra is indeed a real person and is nothing like the Jolly Ole Elf known as Santa Claus.
In fact, not only would Nicholas be the first to cry foul to how he has been used to promote this this greed driven holiday, but even the myths made up about him.
Nicholas, if you need a good lawyer, I know one.
 Though the exact date is not known, it is believed that Nicholas was born between AD 260 and 280. The place, Patara, can be historically grounded.
While a Saint in the Catholic Church, Nicholas is also revered among Anglican, Lutherans and Eastern Orthodox Christians.
Right here in Virgina Beach, there is a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas, but in many places around the world, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Lutheran churches are named in his honour.
I once knew a rabbi, who told me that Saint Nicholas, known for his compassion for the poor, is a role model for all mankind, not just christians.
My mother told me that Nicholas was born a wealthy man, yet gave his wealth to care for the poor. My step-father told me that Saint Nicholas is the  Patron Saint of Sailors, a Nun told me he was the Patron Saint of children.
But it was in Jr. High school, when doing a school report that I would learn he was the Patron Saint of, merchants, archers, pirates (thus the pirate-like red suit), and pawnbrokers. In some countries in Europe, he is the Patron Saint of students.
That makes Saint Nick one busy guy.
While there are those who argue St. Nicholas existed only in legend, he is make-believe, a fairytale  and worse, a lie told to children, who grow up doubting the existing even of G-d after they find out their parents lied to them.
As a lover of liliterature, I know that legends tend to grow out of real, actual events, though often be embellished to make more interesting stories. Many of the St. Nicholas stories have been interwoven with imagination. But just because fairy stories have been mingled with truth, it doesn't mean that there wasn't a real man name Nicholas.

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