If your family was anything like mine, St. Nicholas Day was a big deal. We left our shoes out on the eve of his feast day, we would celebrate him in church and also have a party in his honor at school (Catholic Education). Not only was St. Nicholas a real man, but he is worth remembering.
He was a man after God’s own heart. A man of convictions and commitment even in the face of tremendous worldly wealth and persecution. St. Nicholas was one of my favorite saints to learn about when I was growing up. As an adult, he remains one of my favorites. St. Nicholas (or St. Nick as I always used to say when I was growing up) is both real and transparent, an authentic human being who reflects the divine life. St. Nicholas stands as a countless reminder that we do not have to be closed off to God, we can be open to Him through humility and thankfulness. All of the saints (just like St. Nicholas did) give us hope that ALL of us, and those we meet daily can and are saints in the making. Those that we meet, and the people that we worship with from week to week are the faces of all the blessings of God that he has brought forth to the world. St. Nicholas was canonized because he witnessed his faith in Christ by his love for others especially the poor and needy. His faith and love in the Christmas event transformed his life and transformed the way he treated people with love, mercy, and compassion. One of the reasons why I am so drawn to him is because, at a young age, I heard the call of God to be a light for others through ministry work. It has not always been an easy road, but it has been the happiest road I have ever walked down.
As we celebrate St. Nicholas on his feast day. Whether you are in a family with small children and you leave your shoes out by the fireplace, read a story about St. Nicholas, or just reflect on the man he was and the saint he became, may you treat others around you with a little more love, mercy, and compassion.
St. Nicholas, pray for us. May you continue to feel God’s love around you and your families during this Advent season.