Few men or women have gained the respect of the Christian world like Saint Nicholas. He is respected by Orthodox and non-Orthodox Christians for his acts of charity and compassion. This widespread fame presents us Orthodox Christians with the opportunity to share our theology of the Saints with those Christians and non-Christians. His fame opens the door for Orthodox Christians to share the rich Holy Tradition of the early Church through the life and teachings of this great Saint.
But what do most of us do on the Feast of Saint Nicholas? Some of us keep our faith to ourselves and ‘maybe’ attend Divine Liturgy if a member of our family is named Nicholas or Nicholia. But unfortunately many Orthodox Christians waste this opportunity by complaining about Santa Claus and ‘insisting’ on using the image of Saint Nicholas as a Bishop of the Church rather than the jolly old man in a red fur suit.
When the world’s attention is focused on one of the most important Saints of the Orthodox Church, we shouldn’t waste time complaining about trivial cartoons. We should let the world know WHY Saint Nicholas was so popular, and HOW he defended the truth of Christ, and WHAT acts of charity and compassion he performed while a BISHOP of the Church. There is so much to teach, there isn’t enough time to waste.
A very good resource, one that I recommend bookmarking, is the Mystagogy blog by John Sandidopoulos, a Seminary school mate of mine and VERY popular website. He has an entire section on Saint Nicholas.
Spend some time familiarizing yourself with this great Saint so you can have positive conversations with friends during the so-called holiday season. It will go much further than complaints. Give it a try.
This post is written for the 40 Days of Blogging Challenge sponsored by the Preachers Institute. You may find other blogs participating in this challenge. I hope you enjoy this year’s Advent journey.