About 15 years ago, when our son was about 5 years old, we had to make a decision. What would we teach him about Santa Claus? We knew the legends of the true St. Nicholas, and wanted him to appreciate the true story of this historical figure. Christians have a wonderful opportunity to share the story of St. Nicholas and show the true source of our generosity at Christmastime.
The true Nicholas lived in modern-day Turkey, was a bishop of the church who defended the teaching of Jesus’ deity, and spread his inherited wealth with the poor and needy. What more could we ask for in a model of faith!?
So I started putting my ideas on paper. While there aren’t a huge number of Nicholas books, most of the ones I found focused not on what is known from history about the man, but rather on the legends and miracles. So I set out to research and write a book that would tell the story of his generous heart, and show how his generosity came from faith in Christ. My book focuses on the story of Nicholas giving a poor man with three daughters enough gold so that the girls would not have to be sold into slavery or end up in a life of prostitution. No names or other historical details have survived the years, so I made up family names, added a little brother, and tried to honor the story of this true Christian bishop.
What didn’t make it into the book is his presence at the Council of Nicea. Constantine called the first church council in 325 A.D. It is from this first church convention that the Nicene Creed was created, which the Church has confessed ever since. Arius, a bishop from Egypt, doubted Christ’s equality with the Father–thus showing the complexity of the theological teaching of the Trinity. Nicholas got so irritated by Arius’ heresy that he got up and slapped him across the face. I mean: go Nicholas! Perhaps we should have a little more of this spunk! An excellent little article by Gene Veith describes the scene in more detail.
Anyhow, Nicholas’ story is one to pass down to our kids and grandkids because it shows us that Christ’s love overflows into our lives and to the people around us. What a wonderful idea to share!
This recipe(p. 3), from Joan H., would make an excellent game day dip! It’s super easy–just a can of no-bean chili, shredded cheese, and some cream cheese. Melt it all together and you get a great dip!