ST NICHOLAS          Feast Day 06 December

St Nicholas was born in Patara around the year 280. He was the only child to Christian parents. St NicholasHe was brought up in a devout home and he appeared to grow in holiness early in life. His parents died whilst he was still a young man leaving him quite rich and under the guardianship of his uncle who was the Bishop of Patara. Nicholas continued to grow in holiness and devoted his life to works of charity. He became a priest and was very caring of those under his care. Fr Nicholas seemed determined to use his inheritance wisely and at least one opportunity arose whereby he could help a family in his care. A gentleman with three daughters had lost all his money and he was worried that they would not be able to get married and settle down without the necessary dowries. Fr Nicholas was determined to help and assured the family of his prayers. Whilst deep in prayer he had a wonderful idea. At dead of night he left his home and went to the home of the destitute family. He quietly pushed three bags of gold coins through the shutters as quietly as he could and returned home. On waking the family found the gifts and thanked God for his merciful bounty and the blessings poured out on the girls. All the girls got married through Fr Nicholas’ generosity.

When the time came for the election of a new Bishop, Fr Nicholas was indicated by God to be the one to choose. This good and holy bishop set the pattern for lovingly caring for others by prayer and by good works. He suffered persecution for the faith and was imprisoned by Diocletian until Constantine’s rule of tolerance towards Christians. St Nicholas gave the gift of his wealth but his significance for us is that he responded to God’s love in Jesus and cared for his people. He is thought to have died around the year 343.

Tales of St Nicholas abound and he is known by many names – Santa Claus, Father Christmas etc. and his legend of flying around the world gift-giving enhance the story. The best part of the story is that Nicholas was a real person, so full of love for Christ that he prayed and cared for those in his care the best way he could. His feast day is 06 December.