Today the Church remembers and celebrates a bishop of the Church who has been morphed into a popular cultural icon: St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (the western part of what is now Turkey), who lived in the 4th century.
Nicholas happened to be in Myra when the clergy and people had gathered together to select a new bishop, and they believed that God had directed them to select Nicholas. This was at the time of Diocletian's persecutions at the beginning of the fourth century. Nicholas served as bishop caring for his people in any way that he could.
One of the most widely known stories of Nicholas involves a man who had 3 daughters who were not married partly because the family was poor and could not provide a dowry for each of them. Given the socio-economic structure of the day, in order to earn a living, chances were that they would end up as prostitutes.
Tradition has it that Nicholas went by the family’s home on 3 separate nights, and each time he went by, he threw a bag of gold through a window. As a result, the family had enough to provide dowries for the 3 daughters who were then able to marry.
With this and other such stories about Nicholas’ anonymous generosity, he became symbolic of giving without seeking any reward for himself, just as Christ had done through his death and resurrection.
Let us pray: Almighty God, who in your love gave to your servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea: Grant, we pray, that your Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Handel’s Messiah Advent Christian Education Series: Join this wonderful exploration of Scripture for Advent through the beauty of Handel’s Messiah in Bright-Davies Hall at 11:00 a.m. every Sunday with Tom and Jillian Bain.
Christmas Eve Eucharist, Rite II, at 4 p.m. on the 24th of December.
Please remember everyone on our Prayer List, especially Caleb Boyer.
Your servant in Christ,
The Rev. Chester J. Makowski+St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550