Nicholas of Myra also known from the names of Nicholas of Bari and Nicholas the Wonderworker was an early Christian bishop based in the maritime city of Myra in Turkey. He is a saint loved by millions of people in the world irrespective of the religion as his life story pave the path to a wonderful character all human beings on earth and especially kids love and eagerly wait every year; the famous Santa Claus. All of us know who Santa Claus is and we all have a beautiful past where we truly thought Santa came home with his reindeers secretly on Christmas eve and kept the gift we wrote and placed under the Christmas tree, while we were at church. The childhood fantasy derived from a beautiful story of a beloved person that had a tender heart full of selfless giving to the needy and poor.
St. Nicholas was a Greek born in the late third century around 280 A.D. He is devoted as the patron saint of sailors, merchants, children, archers, repentant thieves, prostitutes, unmarried people, prisoners and students. Most of the children are offered for his protection and guidance. St. Nicholas was born to wealthy parents who raised him to be a devout Christian. He solemnly practiced Jesus’ teaching given to one wealthy man to sell what you own and give the money to the poor. St. Nicholas is identified for his outgoing generosity for the needy, love for children and concern for the afflicted. Archives present many stories that portray saint’s generosity and life story. One of the famous story is where he saves three daughters of a man from being forced to prostitution as the father could not afford to give them a dowry for marriage. Nicholas the Wonderworker secretly went each night and dropped three bags full of gold coins to help the father to give his daughters in marriage with a dowry. His generosity is predominant for the fact he conducted those deeds in secret and without publicly visiting the family.
Saint Nicholas had and still has a dedicated concern for children. As once he is said to have resurrected three children who was rigorously butchered and murdered by a wicked innkeeper. He is also miracle performer as he calmed the sea during a terrified storm seeing couple of sailors were in danger in the middle of the sea. Ever since then sailors and voyagers worship him for protection. Historic evidences prove the saint to have rescued people form famine. The beauty of the character is that he is a saint venerated by Catholics, Anglican, Orthodox Church and even Protestants because of his role model of compassionate life. The pictorial depiction and imagery of Santa Claus came into life with the intellectual prose and poems written by great poets such as the famous “A Visit from Santa Claus” poem by Clement Moore. The image of Santa Claus has been transfiguring over the years and leading towards a greater commercialization. This evolution has transformed to an extent where real value of Saints life is long forgotten and every corporate giants use Santa Claus symbol to triumph during busy Christmas season.
In meditating the beautiful life of Saint Nicholas what’s focal to extract is his kind and generous hearts that helped the needy back in the past during his tenure and even now as devotees look up to him for help. Christian life is built on the foundations of love, faith and generosity. We believe our life here on earth is shorter and thus what we acquire as possessions will be long gone as we bid adieu to this world. Living understanding the reality of life the utmost importance is to share what we have with others, especially for the ones who are deprived of needs. The happiness in life remains as we see a happy face of a person being benefited as you reach out your hand to help. As St. Nicholas practiced, helping of the needy and poor is always not through monetary value, it also means through our words, thoughts and actions. At times even a single word of strength means a lot for a depressed heart crying in lamentation with loss of hope. Walking an extra mile to a person who could never repay you back whatsoever is a generous act of kindness. Looking at everyone in their own perspective and understanding their life story is similar to sharing their pain and suffering. Today amidst the busy lifestyle most of us lead, lending an ear, sparing a moment for another person is hard. Simply because we have forgotten our true purpose in life. Saint Nicholas born to a rich family yet was gifted with an understanding heart to feel the need of the poor. His life reflects on the qualities we must adopt even now if we drive our concern to enrich our spirituality, meaning and mindfulness in life. For a human brain combatting with many scenarios each day absorbing the generous way of life could be not attainable, as we tend to put forth our judgements before anything as we live this life. But the act of trying would take a person a long way. If all on this earth could be a percent extra generous than now, perhaps we could feed the hunger stricken nations in Africa. If the policymakers who only have paper goals to achieve and trying to voice to combat could genuinely start acting to end poverty, we as a world are one step ahead than how we were.
Living catholically is not preliminary observation of prayers, traditions and customs. The readings that we observe and listen must be practiced. Faith in God means trusting him enough to know as you give yourself completely to the needy God will protect you and give you multiple times more than what you gave. Faith also means when we do not have any material thing to offer another person but only prayers wholeheartedly. As we celebrate the feast day of Saint Nicholas, writer wishes that all of you would be blessed with a time to reflect on what more could we do to live the word of God here on earth.
God Bless You!