December 6, 2016
Saint Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra is transformed in our modern secular culture as Santa Claus - the man in the red suit who brings gifts at Christmas to all those who are good. It is interesting - and telling - to consider what the Church remembers him for. Yes, he is said to have punched Arias in the nose for denying the divinity of Jesus. But most of the stories that come to us through history are of him living the Christian life - like providing a dowry to three young women so they could marry and avoid slavery (the three bags of gold he threw through their windows landed in their stockings, and so today we hang our stockings by the chimney with care). All of the stories about Archbishop Nicholas that come to us through history are about his love for people - especially the poor. St. Nicholas was good. So good that his goodness shines through history - and radiates even from the man in the red suit. Such goodness can only be found in one who dwells intimately with Lord - for He is the only good One (Mt 19:17).
O holy father,
The fruit of your good works enlightens and delights the hearts of the faithful.
Who cannot wonder at your measureless patience and humility?
At your tender care for the poor?
At your compassion for the afflicted?
O holy Nicholas,
You have divinely taught all things well,
Now wearing your unfading crown,
You intercede for our souls.
(From the Vespers of St. Nicholas)
- Matins - John 10:9-16
- Divine Liturgy - Hebrews 13:17-21, Luke 6:17-23
The icon is of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, whose memory is celebrated by the Church on December 6th. Saint Nicholas exemplifies the blessings that Christ gives to those who follow Him. He gave of his riches, he filled the hungry, he comforted those who wept and he was persecuted for his faith. "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy for your reward is great in heaven!"
Nativity Fast / Advent
We continue our forty day Fast in preparation for the coming in the flesh of our Lord, God and Savior (Christmas). It began on November 14th, at the Conclusion of the Feast of the Holy Apostle Philip, and is commonly known as "Philip's Fast".