Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra.
I love this man. Patron of virgins, brides and children, it's his story of throwing bags of money into the house of three poor sisters that grew into the legend of Santa Clause. (That money was for the girls dowries so they could marry instead of having to live a more destitute life.) While I'm not a fan of the way Santa has overrun Jesus in Christmas, I do think that the kind, gentle man does represent the best of this Bishop who became Father Christmas.
But my favorite story of St. Nicholas is this:
At the Council of Nicea (250AD) the bishops were gathered to discuss a heresy in the Church - Arianism, a false teaching on the Trinity. As Arius was promoting his views of Christ, Nicholas became so infuriated he got up and punched the man out. The saint and his fellow bishops then confirmed what the Church had always taught about the Trinity and Christ: one in being with the Father; God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God; He was begotten, not made.
So happy feast day to you!
Fr. Ray Blake has a post on St. Nick as well.
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